Dating all the way back to 1882, the Ashes is perhaps the most iconic cricket series England has ever participated in. Pitting England’s finest against the best talent from Australia, the Ashes have brought the world some of its most memorable moments in cricketing history. Not to mention, the subject matter for thousands of inspiring cricket posters
, historic cricket photos, cricket documentaries and more. But as with all legendary tournaments, there have been certain events in the history of the Ashes that stand out as the most memorable. Even if you aren’t the biggest cricket fan in the world, you sometimes can’t help but be swept away by the whole thing. So with this in mind, what follows is a brief overview of just a few of England’s best Ashes-winning performances, as immortalised on film and pictures:
Bodyline Controversy 1932
The first and still one of the biggest controversies in cricket, England effectively invented the bodyline tactic in 1932. The method involves delivering the ball directly at the body of the batsman, encouraging him to defend himself and gently deflect the ball to a nearby fielder. But at the time and today, critics consider the tactic to be physically threatening and intimidatory. Despite not having broken any rules, England’s use of the bodyline tactic led to soured relations between the two teams that lasted for several years. To such an extent that diplomatic relations between England and Australia were also strained for some time!
Headingley 1981 - Botham’s Ashes
The events that took place at Headingley in 1981 would come to be known around the world as Botham’s Ashes. His truly spectacular performance with both the bat and the ball earned him legendary status in Ashes history books. 92 runs down and with just three wickets left, Botham hit a spectacular 149. His growing confidence inspired him and the rest of the team to give it everything they had left, ultimately resulting in a victory for England nobody saw coming. No image captures the charisma of Botham on the day quite like the shot of him holding his trademark cigar in the Headingley dressing room.
Edgbaston 2005 – Flintoff Vs Lee
It was the sheer drama of the closing moments of the 2005 Ashes that captured the imagination of the world. Not to mention, the incredible sportsmanship demonstrated by one Freddie Flintoff. After sealing England’s victory over Australia by just two runs, Flintoff chose not to participate in the euphoric celebrations of his teammates. Instead, he knelt to console Brett Lee, who was clearly devastated with the outcome. This moving image was immortalised for future generations, presenting a picture of true sportsmanship and the gentlemanly qualities cricket has always been known for
The Miracle of Cardiff, 2009 This particular Ashes climax proved that the show really isn’t over until the fat lady sings. England had largely been expected to lose throughout the final match – particularly when responsibility fell on the shoulders of one Monty Panesar. Who was, without putting too fine a point on it, perhaps the worst batsman in test cricket at the time. Nevertheless, partnered with Jimmy Anderson, the two managed to hold out and ultimately force a draw. This was undoubtedly one of the most nerve-racking games to watch in the history of test cricket, resulting in the kind of relief that was almost as enjoyable as victory would have been.
Alastair Cook Lead England to Victory in 2015
Last but not least, we look back to the last time England successfully reclaimed the Ashes. We need to look back to 2015 to see what England’s really capable of, when the title was scooped at the Oval. Under the extraordinary leadership of Alistair Cook, England strode to a confident victory and set a strong foundation for future success. Cook’s leadership was far more important than his batting during this competition, as he cemented his reputation as one of England’s most capable captains to date. His recent retirement from the International stage broke the hearts of England Cricket fans across the country.