Ashes has a rich history dating back to 1882. From such a long time, the two long time rivals, Australia and England, have carried on the legacy of Test cricket for a long time. To date, Ashes remains one of the greatest endorsements for the longest format of the game. Without a doubt, Ashes still remains the pinnacle of Test cricket for everything it offers.
The rivalry, which has such a great history, has seen some of the best series over the years. In 1932/33, the infamous Bodyline series between the two sides led to tensions among the two boards. Since then, there has been a shift in the tone of rivalry between the two cricket crazy nations. In 1981, Ashes saw one of the best series being played.
Arguably the best Ashes series was played in 2005 in England, when Australia was at the peak of its cricket and England was turning out to be a formidable Test side. The visiting side had outclassed most of the teams in their own backyard and had some of the best players in the world like Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath, and Shane Warne.
On the other hand was England, led by Michael Vaughan, which had some of the young and emerging talents like Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Flintoff, and others. Their main aim was to stop Australia from retaining the urn. The task was difficult, but England was up for it. The first Test saw the domination of Australia, who won at the home of cricket by 239 runs.
The second Test in Birmingham saw one of the greatest cricket matches ever played, where England won the Test by just 2 runs to level the series 1-1. The third Test in Manchester saw the fighting spirit of both the teams. On the last day of the Test, the Australian batters showed their grittiness and held on for a fighting draw. With the progression of the series, there was a genuine interest among the fans to witness the revival of Test Cricket.
The fourth Test saw another thrilling contest between the two sides. England found it difficult to chase a target of 129 runs. Eventually, the home side won by 3 wickets and claimed a lead of 2-1 in the series. The final Test of the series happened at The Oval, which saw a flat track. The match was affected by rain and had no scope of a result.
Both the teams scored over 300 runs in all their innings. The match ended in a draw, as England won the series 2-1. It was the first Ashes win for England since 1986/87. Under the captaincy of Michael Vaughan, the home team delivered what their fans wanted. The hype for the series was unreal, as fans were excited for the clash between the two age old rivals throughout the summer. 18 years back, England regained their urn on this day.