The 2019 summer promises to be one of the biggest in English cricket for a generation. The country is hosting the Cricket World Cup, and the Three Lions are the favourites to win the competition due to their prowess over the last four years in the 50-over game.
After he tournament, England take on Australia in the Ashes, competing for the famous trophy in five Test matches between August and September. The Aussies hold the urn after their 4-0 victory over England in last series down under. However, they’ve lost their last four series on English shores, which has resulted in the Three Lions being installed as 3/4 favourites in the latest cricket betting odds.
It promises to be a fascinating contest between the two old foes, who have provided exhilariting moments on the field, making a spectacle that should be viewed in person from the stands. We’ll now break down two of the best moments from the series that have taken places in the venues that will host key matches during the summer.
On 7 August 2005 England win the 2nd closest ever Test victory beating Australia by only 2 runs in the 2nd Test at Edgbaston with Durham’s Steve Harmison famously bouncing out Aussie Michael Kasprowicz with Glamorgan’s gloveman Geraint Jones taking the catch! pic.twitter.com/MSw10p3xhK
— Dan Redford (@danredford70) August 6, 2018
The venue in Birmingham hosts the first match of the series in 2019, and has become a fortress for England in recent years. They’ve not lost at the ground in 11 years, notably beating the Aussies in 2015 by eight wickets on their way to a 3-2 triumph. However, the Three Lions’ best moment on the ground game in 2005. Australia had won the first match of the series and England needed a response. They were seemingly on their way to a triumph, only for Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz to thwart their attempts with a dangerous last wicket stand.
The Aussies needed 282 to win and managed to grind down the total, sending English fans into a nervous frenzy in Birmingham. However, Steve Harmison prised out Kasprowicz with a bouncer that was caught by Geraint Jones to secure a two-run triumph, sending the entire ground into raptures. The game featured one of most notable gestures of sportsmanship as Andrew Flintoff put his joy to one side to shake the hand of Lee for his brilliant effort. That day would sum up arguably the best series of Test cricket played in the modern day as England edged out their rivals 2-1 to reclaim the urn for the first time in 19 years.
4: With England struggling to avoid an innings defeat, Ian Botham turns the 1981 Headingley Test on its head with an unbeaten 149 pic.twitter.com/aZbJcKDJCC
— Benedict Bermange (@Benedict_B) November 22, 2017
England do not have the best of records at Headingley, losing their last encounter against Australia in 2009 by an innings. However, the West Stand at the venue in Leeds provided one of the most intimidating atmospheres in the game. No opposition player is safe from the jeers of the crowd, while the volume of noise when the home side are performing cannot be matched.
One player is renowned for his performance at Headingley more than any other – Sir Ian Botham. The 1981 Ashes are known as Botham’s Ashes for a reason and the primary one was his match-winning performance in Leeds. With his side on the ropes after being bowled out for 174, trailing the Aussies’ score by 227 runs. England were on the verge of an innings defeat before he produced an onslaught. He hammered Dennis Lillee, Terry Alderman and Geoff Lawson around the ground.
Botham notched an unbeaten innings of 149, scoring 27 boundaries and a six. The all-rounder turned the game on its head before Bob Willis took over with the ball, skittling the Aussies out for 111 to complete the turnaround, claiming eight wickets. It remains one of the most poignant matches in the history of English cricket, creating a legend. The 2019 series has a lot to live up to when it begins in August.