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The Top 10 Ashes Moments of All Time

6 August 2019

Top 10 ashes moments

The Australian cricket team return to England this Summer looking for a first Ashes win on English soil since 2001. It's one of sport's longest standing rivalries and has produced some dramatic moments since the first game was played way back in 1877. We've chosen our 10 favourite Ashes moments (in chronological order) ahead of this Summer's contest, but as ever we're keen to hear if you disagree with us at

1932/3 - The Bodyline Series

1) 1932/3 - The Bodyline Series

The infamous Bodyline tactic (literally bowling at the batsman's body) was England captain Douglas Jardine's ruthless plan to nullify the finest batsman to ever play the game, Donald Bradman. It proved successful in so far that England won the most controversial Ashes series ever played 4-1 but the sickening injuries to several Australian players (it was 40 years before the introduction of helmets) and the political uproar the "unsportsmanlike" tactic caused in Australia - led to the controversial Bodyline bowling being made illegal the following year. Jardine himself never captained England again.

1956 - Laker takes 19 wickets

2) 1956 - Laker takes 19 wickets

The 1956 Ashes series was in the balance at one-all when the 2 teams arrived at Manchester for the fourth test. England off spinner Jim Laker, who had taken 11 wickets in the previous test at Headingly, exploited the spin-friendly conditions in Manchester to perfection to take 19 of the 20 Australian wickets to fall as England won the match and with it the Ashes.

1975 - Man of Steele defies the speed demons

3) 1975 - Man of Steele defies the speed demons

Silver haired, spectacle wearing journeyman David Steele proved one of England's most unlikely sporting heroes in the summer of 1975 when he was drafted into an England team that had been psychologically destroyed by Aussie pace duo Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson in the first Test. Steele defied what was possibly cricket's fastest ever pace bowling attack for the rest of the series, with all the remaining games drawn. Australia retained the Ashes, but Steele was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

1977 - Boycott's century of centuries

4) 1977 - Boycott's century of centuries

In 1977 an Australian team divided over the ongoing Kerry Packer World Series Cricket crisis, were ripe for the taking. In the end, England won the series decisively, with Geoff Boycott announcing his return to the side with his 100th career hundred at his home ground at Headingley, Leeds as England sealed the Ashes by a comfortable 3-0 margin. Boycott, who punched an ondrive to the boundary in the late evening sunshine to reach 3 figures, was the first man to complete his century of centuries in a Test.

1981 - Botham's Ashes

5) 1981 - Botham's Ashes

The unpredictability of sport was never better summed up than in the summer of England all-rounder Ian Terrance Botham in 1981, as he went from national pariah to national hero over 5 glorious days in Leeds. Having led England to defeat in the opening match and then bagging a pair at Lords, Botham resigned the captaincy. Mike Brearely took over and - surprisingly at the time - Botham retained his place in the team for the Third Test at Headingley. Following on and at 135-7 in their second innings, Ladbrooke's famously quoted odds of 500-1 for an England victory. But freed from the pressures of captaincy, an inspired Botham played with his old bravado, leading a thrilling counter-attack and scoring an undefeated 149. Chasing a modest 130 to win, the Aussies collapsed for just 111. Botham continued to break Aussie hearts with both bat and ball over the remainder of the series, as England completed a 3-1 series win.

1993 - the ball of the century

6) 1993 - the ball of the century

Never has a player announced himself to the Ashes in such dramatic fashion as Shane Warne did in the First Test at Old Trafford in 1993. Former England captain, Mike Gatting - an acknowledged master of spin bowling - faced the first ball Warne bowled in the series and watched in astonishment as Warne's vicious leg-break pitched outside Gatting's leg stump, gripped the pitch and turned sharply to clip off stump. England never recovered, a cricketing superstar was born and Australia thumped England 4-1.

 2005 - Freddie inspires England in the greatest series

7) 2005 - Freddie inspires England in "the greatest series"

After 16 years of Aussie domination, Michael Vaughn's England team were determined to regain the Ashes against a still formidable Australia team. It turned into an epic series between 2 of the strongest teams to ever play Ashes cricket. Each match was a drama as England gradually wrestled control. The highlight was the second test at Edgbaston, when Australia, chasing 282 to win, were on the verge of victory when last man Michael Kasprowicz was caught behind to hand England the narrowest ever Ashes victory, by just 2 runs. In the heat of victory and with the rest of the England team wildly celebrating, England talisman Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff consoled the Australian batsman in a moment of pure sportsmanship. England edged the nail-biting series 2-1.

2006/7 - Revenge

8) 2006/7 - Revenge

Few agreed with Glen McGrath’s 5-0 whitewash prediction as Australia plotted revenge for the 2005 series defeat, when England toured "down under" just 18 months later. Aussie legends McGrath, Shane Warne and Justin Langer had announced they planned to retire after the series and were determined to sign off in style. The die was cast with the very first delivery of the series, as an out of form and nervous Steve Harmison wildly sprayed his first ball straight to second slip, and McGrath's 5-0 prediction proved deadly accurate.

2010/11 – Dominant England crush Australia Down Under

9) 2010/11 – Dominant England crush Australia “Down Under”

A strong England team in their prime took on an Australian team in transition and won the series decisively, 3-1. All 3 of England’s wins were by an innings, as their leading batsmen (Cook, Strauss, Trott, Pietersen) all had the series of their lives. Cook alone scored 766 runs at an average of 128. England won the Ashes in the Christmas Test at Melbourne. In front of 90,000 people they bowled out Australia for 98 before piling on 513 runs themselves – eventually winning by a crushing innings and 157 runs.

2015 – Australia bowled out for 60 at Nottingham

10) 2015 – Australia bowled out for 60 at Nottingham

Australia arrived as favourites to win the Ashes on English soil for the first time since 2001. But there has probably never been a more one-sided day in Ashes history than 6 August 2015. With the Ashes still in the balance, Stuart Broad ripped through the Australians to take 8 wickets for 15 runs on the first morning of the Trent Bridge test, as Australia were all-out for 60. The Australian innings lasted 94 minutes, just 111 balls, the shortest first innings in the history of Test cricket. England pressed home their advantage, finishing the day on 274-4. Australia couldn’t recover, and 3 days later England wrapped up victory and with it the Ashes.