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The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia. The series have varied in length, consisting of between one and six Test matches, but since 1998 have been consistently five matches. It is one of sport's most celebrated rivalries and dates back to 1882. It is generally played biennially, alternating between the United Kingdom and Australia.

Although the first Test series played between England and Australia was in the 1876–77 season, the Ashes originated from the solitary Test which the two nations contested in 1882. England lost the match, played at The Oval, and a mock obituary was posted in The Sporting Times, declaring the death of English cricket. It stated that: "The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia." The Honourable Ivo Bligh adopted the term and, as captain of the English party that travelled to Australia the following winter, promised to bring the "Ashes" home.

After their loss to Australia in 1882, England won the next eight series between the two sides, during which time they lost only four of the 22 Tests. Australia won an Ashes series for the first time in 1891–92, when they beat England 2–1. The 1932–33 tour was known as the "Bodyline series" as, in response to the talented Australian batsman Don Bradman, England developed a tactic of bowling quickly at the body of the batsmen with most of the fielders placed in a close ring on the leg side. England won the series, but the tactic prompted changes to the laws of cricket, and the Australians, buoyed by the batting of Bradman, regained the Ashes during the next series and then held them for six series, spanning nineteen years. It was during this period that the Australians travelled to England in 1948, and remained unbeaten during the whole tour, gaining the nickname of "The Invincibles". In addition to winning the five match Test series 4–0, Australia won or drew all of their 29 other matches against county and representative sides.

Australia have won more Ashes Tests than England, winning 123 of the 310 matches, compared to England's 100 victories. They have also won more Ashes series than England, winning on 31 occasions, once more than England. There have been five drawn series, and on four of these occasions, Australia have retained the Ashes due to being holders going into the series. England have retained the Ashes after a drawn series once. On only two occasions has a team won all the Tests in an Ashes series; Australia won all five matches in 1920–21, and then repeated the feat in 2006–07. England's largest winning margin in an Ashes series was in 1978–79, when they won 5–1. Both England and Australia have held the Ashes for eight series in a row, England doing so between 1882–83 and 1890, while Australia achieved the feat from 1989 to 2002–03. Since 1882, a small number of Test series have been played between the two sides that have not been allocated as Ashes series; those played in 1976–77, 1979–80, 1980 and 1987–88, these series are not listed in the table below.

Key

  • Years denotes the cricket season in which the series takes place.
  • Host denotes the host country for the series.
  • First match denotes the date on which the first match of the series commenced.
  • Tests denotes how many Tests were played in the series, and in parentheses (if different) the number of Tests that were scheduled to be played in the series.
  • Australia denotes how many matches in the series were won by Australia.
  • England denotes how many matches in the series were won by England.
  • Drawn denotes how many matches in the series were drawn.
  • Result denotes which side won the series overall, or if it was drawn.
  • Holder denotes which side was awarded (or retained) the Ashes at the end of the series.

Ashes series

Series Years Host First match Tests Australia England Drawn Result Holder Ref
1 1882–83 Australia 01882-12-3030 December 1882 3 1 2 0 England England
2 1884 England 01884-07-1111 July 1884 3 0 1 2 England England
3 1884–85 Australia 01884-12-1212 December 1884 5 2 3 0 England England
4 1886 England 01886-07-055 July 1886 3 0 3 0 England England
5 1886–87 Australia 01887-01-2828 January 1887 2 0 2 0 England England
6 1887–88 Australia 01888-02-1010 February 1888 1 0 1 0 England England
7 1888 England 01888-07-1616 July 1888 3 1 2 0 England England
8 1890 England 01890-07-2121 July 1890 2 (3) 0 2 0 England England
9 1891–92 Australia 01892-01-011 January 1892 3 2 1 0 Australia Australia
10 1893 England 01893-07-1717 July 1893 3 0 1 2 England England
11 1894–95 Australia 01894-12-1414 December 1894 5 2 3 0 England England
12 1896 England 01896-06-2222 June 1896 3 1 2 0 England England
13 1897–98 Australia 01897-12-1313 December 1897 5 4 1 0 Australia Australia
14 1899 England 01899-06-011 June 1899 5 1 0 4 Australia Australia
15 1901–02 Australia 01901-12-1313 December 1901 5 4 1 0 Australia Australia
16 1902 England 01902-05-2929 May 1902 5 2 1 2 Australia Australia
17 1903–04 Australia 01903-12-1111 December 1903 5 2 3 0 England England
18 1905 England 01905-05-2929 May 1905 5 0 2 3 England England
19 1907–08 Australia 01907-12-1313 December 1907 5 4 1 0 Australia Australia
20 1909 England 01909-05-2727 May 1909 5 2 1 2 Australia Australia
21 1911–12 Australia 01911-12-1515 December 1911 5 1 4 0 England England
22 1912 England 01912-05-2727 May 1912 3 0 1 2 England England
23 1920–21 Australia 01920-12-1717 December 1920 5 5 0 0 Australia Australia
24 1921 England 01921-05-2828 May 1921 5 3 0 2 Australia Australia
25 1924–25 Australia 01924-12-1919 December 1924 5 4 1 0 Australia Australia
26 1926 England 01926-06-1212 June 1926 5 0 1 4 England England
27 1928–29 Australia 01928-11-3030 November 1928 5 1 4 0 England England
28 1930 England 01930-06-1313 June 1930 5 2 1 2 Australia Australia
29 1932–33 Australia 01932-12-022 December 1932 5 1 4 0 England England
30 1934 England 01934-06-088 June 1934 5 2 1 2 Australia Australia
31 1936–37 Australia 01936-12-044 December 1936 5 3 2 0 Australia Australia
32 1938 England 01938-06-1010 June 1938 4 (5) 1 1 2 Drawn Australia
33 1946–47 Australia 01946-11-2929 November 1946 5 3 0 2 Australia Australia
34 1948 England 01948-06-1010 June 1948 5 4 0 1 Australia Australia
35 1950–51 Australia 01950-12-011 December 1950 5 4 1 0 Australia Australia
36 1953 England 01953-06-1111 June 1953 5 0 1 4 England England
37 1954–55 Australia 01954-11-2626 November 1954 5 1 3 1 England England
38 1956 England 01956-06-077 June 1956 5 1 2 2 England England
39 1958–59 Australia 01958-12-055 December 1958 5 4 0 1 Australia Australia f>
40 1961 England 01961-06-088 June 1961 5 2 1 2 Australia Australia
41 1962–63 Australia 01962-11-3030 November 1962 5 1 1 3 Drawn Australia
42 1964 England 01964-04-044 April 1964 5 1 0 4 Australia Australia
43 1965–66 Australia 01965-12-1010 December 1965 5 1 1 3 Drawn Australia
44 1968 England 01968-06-066 June 1968 5 1 1 3 Drawn Australia
45 1970–71 Australia 01970-11-2727 November 1970 6 (7) 0 2 4 England England
46 1972 England 01972-06-088 June 1972 5 2 2 1 Drawn England
47 1974–75 Australia 01974-11-2929 November 1974 6 4 1 1 Australia Australia
48 1975 England 01975-07-1010 July 1975 4 1 0 3 Australia Australia
49 1977 England 01977-06-1616 June 1977 5 0 3 2 England England
50 1978–79 Australia 01978-12-011 December 1978 6 1 5 0 England England
51 1981 England 01981-06-1818 June 1981 6 1 3 2 England England
52 1982–83 Australia 01982-11-1212 November 1982 5 2 1 2 Australia Australia
53 1985 England 01985-06-1313 June 1985 6 1 3 2 England England
54 1986–87 Australia 01986-11-1414 November 1986 5 1 2 2 England England
55 1989 England 01989-06-088 June 1989 6 4 0 2 Australia Australia
56 1990–91 Australia 01990-11-2323 November 1990 5 3 0 2 Australia Australia
57 1993 England 01993-06-033 June 1993 6 4 1 1 Australia Australia
58 1994–95 Australia 01994-11-2525 November 1994 5 3 1 1 Australia Australia
59 1997 England 01997-06-055 June 1997 6 3 2 1 Australia Australia
60 1998–99 Australia 01998-11-2020 November 1998 5 3 1 1 Australia Australia
61 2001 England 02001-07-055 July 2001 5 4 1 0 Australia Australia
62 2002–03 Australia 02002-11-077 November 2002 5 4 1 0 Australia Australia
63 2005 England 02005-07-2121 July 2005 5 1 2 2 England England
64 2006–07 Australia 02006-11-2323 November 2006 5 5 0 0 Australia Australia
65 2009 England 02009-07-088 July 2009 5 1 2 2 England England
66 2010–11 Australia 02010-11-2525 November 2010 5 1 3 1 England England

Summary of results

Played Won by
Australia
Won by
England
Drawn
All Tests 310 123 (40%) 100 (32%) 87 (28.2%)
Tests in Australia 157 77 (50%) 56 (35%) 24 (15.2%)
Tests in England 153 46 (30%) 44 (29%) 63 (41.2%)
All series 66 31 (48%) 30 (44%) 5 (7.8%)
Series in Australia 33 17 (53%) 14 (41%) 2 (6.3%)
Series in England 33 14 (42%) 16 (48%) 3 (9.1%)
As of February 2011.
List of Ashes series
1882–8318841884–8518861886–871887–88188818901891–9218931894–9518961897–9818991901–0219021903–0419051907–0819091911–1219121920–2119211924–2519261928–2919301932–3319341936–3719381946–4719481950–5119531954–5519561958–5919611962–6319641965–6619681970–7119721974–75197519771978–7919811982–8319851986–8719891990–9119931994–9519971998–9920012002–0320052006–0720092010–1120132013–1420152017–1820192021–22
Non-Ashes Australia v England Test series
1876–771878–7918801881–82188219451976–771979–8019801988


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