the-ashes-trophyIf you are an Englishman or an Australian, then it’s likely that the Ashes will be one of the pinnacles of the game of cricket. The fierce rivalry throughout the years has cumulated in some of the most memorable Test matches in the history of the game. There is no other match up in cricket that has the history or arguably the rivalry, than the Ashes does.

The two teams do battle for what’s in essence a tiny urn. It’s said to hold the ashes of the bails that were sued in the first meeting between these two teams. Interestingly, the actual urn never leaves the museum at the Lords cricket ground, with a replica being used for the presentation of modern day games.

The Ashes is played out over 5 Test matches and will be based in England and Australia every two alternate years. It’s widely thought of as one of the biggest Test series in the world with the Boxing Day Test at the MCG in Melbourne being one of the most decorated with close to 100,000 people turning out.

History of the Ashes

The Ashes actually dates back as far as 1882 where the first Test Match was played between the two teams known as The Ashes. The first game played was dated back to 1877, but the nine Test Matches played prior to the naming of The Ashes in 1882 weren’t seen as competitive matches.

The early 20th century saw Australia dominate somewhat before England started to mount a fight back winning tours in both Australia and England. After World War 1 Australia stretched their dominance with back to back wins and some of the most iconic Test matches in history, including the infamous ‘Bodyline’ series, were born.

It was this era that saw one of the greatest batsmen to have played the game in Don Bradman grace the turf whom went on to set countless records as he tormented the English over the space of two decades. Bradman never went on to play anywhere else apart from Australia and England, but he will forever go down as an all-time great averaging 99.9 over his international career.

The late 70’s and early 80’s saw England start to mount a fight back for the little Urn and it was one player that was to almost single handily manage to aid England to win in Australia; that man was Ian Botham. The 80’s in particular were dominated by Botham who was as potent with bat as he was ball. After years of torment, England finally found a new hero!

That success was short lived, however and Australia went on an incredible run of winning every series, both home and away from 1988 up to 2005. Throughout that time they put together one of the most feared and respected test teams of all time under captain Ricky Ponting with the likes of Glenn McGrath, Shane Ware, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist, to name but a few.

2005 was England’s breakthrough year under captain Michael Vaughan who managed to overcome this great Australian team in what is known as one of the most exciting Test series in crickets long history. Since then, England has been much more competitive winning back to back in 2009 and 2010-2011. The Australians currently hold the urn after winning the 2013-14 Ashes mainly thanks to the devastating bowling of Mitchell Johnson.

The Ashes Records

The history of the Ashes means that some of the biggest records actually date back to the early 1900’s with Don Bradman leading many of them in terms of batting. The Australian maestro had an average of 89.78 in Ashes Test Matches alone with a high score of 334. Interestingly though, it’s actually England’s Len Hutton who has the highest Ashes score of 364.

The most decorated bowler in Ashes history is that of Australian leg spinner, Shane Warne. Warne took 195 wickets with a best of 8/71 versus the old enemy. George Lohmann of England actually has the best bowling average of 13.01 which included 77 wickets in 15 tests.

Where to bet and markets to look out for

The Ashes is going to be another one of those markets that the majority of bookmakers will cover pretty comprehensively. You shouldn’t really have any issues in finding a bookmaker that doesn’t offer markets. So, the next question is really, which are the most in-depth? Well, we like to use bet365 and Bet Victor. This isn’t just because they offer a really good range of markets, but more often than not one of them is going to have the most competitive odds in the industry. This may only be fractions, but it all adds up.

In terms of markets to look out for, well we actually like to look at the outright winner markets. At the minute the teams are very evenly matched and there won’t be much between them. This means that the swings after just one result could be massive. A little system we like to use is the backing and laying of the winner, meaning that once a market shifts in a certain direction, we either look to back before later laying or simply lay before later backing.