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The Ashes

We look back at five famous Ashes encounters between the two rivals Down Under

Shane Warne spun Australia to Ashes victory in Adelaide in 2006/07

Tim Bresnan was an unlikely hero as England thashed Australia at the MCG

England have arrived Australia looking to win the Ashes for a fourth straight time.

Here, we look back at five of the greatest clashes between the two nations Down Under.

March 1877 - Australia beat England by 45 runs at Melbourne

What is now considered the first ever Test came before the concept of the Ashes was even conceived. However, it was billed locally as James Lillywhite's XI v South Australia and New South Wales. England-born Australia opener Charles Bannerman scored the first Test century in the first innings to put his side in contention. The touring side were set 154 for victory but Tom Kendall's seven-wicket haul saw them bowled out for 108 in the final innings. England would gain revenge in the second match, also at the MCG, with a four-wicket victory to tie the series.

December 1954 - England beat Australia by 38 runs at Sydney

Having lost the opening encounter at Brisbane, England came roaring back, largely inspired by young Northamptonshire paceman Frank Tyson, who was knocked out by a vicious bouncer from Ray Lindwall in the tourists' second innings. A fired-up Tyson would have his revenge, however, running through Australia's batting line-up and figures of 6-85 gave him a 10-wicket match haul. Tyson would also go onto play a key role in the next match at Melbourne as England claimed a 3-1 series win to retain the Ashes.

March 1977 - Australia beat England by 45 runs at Melbourne

A celebration of the very first Test produced exactly the same result 100 years later. Dennis Lillee was the star of the one-off Centenary Test, where the Ashes were not at stake, with an 11-wicket match haul. Both sides were skittled cheaply in their first innings before Australia made a better fist of things second time round. Wicketkeeper-batsman Rod Marsh scored an unbeaten 110 as England were set a victory target of 463. They looked well placed too at 346-4, but Kerry O'Keeffe took the key wicket of Derek Randall, who had made 174, and England meekly collapsed to 417 all out.

December 2006 - Australia beat England by six wickets at Adelaide

Australians may get misty-eyed after watching the side complete their 5-0 whitewash in Sydney, but this was the Test when that scoreline became less a fantasy and more a reality. There looked to be little danger of anything other than a draw when England racked up 551-6 declared, thanks largely to Paul Collingwood's double century and Kevin Pietersen's 158, while Australia were all out for 513. All the tourists had to do was bat out the final day, but they were all out for a measly 129, with Shane Warne taking four wickets, before Australia chased down the 168 required in less than 33 overs.

December 2010 - England beat Australia by an innings and 57 runs at Melbourne

With the series finely poised at 1-1, England firmly shut the door on any hopes Australia had of winning back the urn with a dominant performance on day one. The hosts were all out for 98 - their lowest all-out total in an Ashes Test at the MCG in front of over 80,000 stunned Australians. Jonathan Trott's unbeaten 168 took Andrew Strauss' men to 513 all out before Yorkshireman Tim Bresnan - a controversial call-up in place of Steven Finn, who was the leading wicket-taker in the series before being dropped - justified his place with four for 50 as Australia subsided to 258 all out. England went on to claim their third innings victory of the tour in Sydney to complete a memorable 3-1 series success.

Who will be England's leading wicket-taker in the forthcoming Ashes series in Australia?

  • James Anderson
  • Stuart Broad
  • Steven Finn
  • Monty Panesar
  • Boyd Rankin
  • Graeme Swann
  • Chris Tremlett