One of the most iconic and fiercely intense rivalries in professional sports is the cricket Ashes series. Every time Australia and England play each other in a series, it will undoubtedly be a masterpiece. The most significant test series in cricket will return to our screens in 2023, beginning on June 16 at Edgbaston.
When it comes to the betting odds this year, the two teams are indistinguishable. Popular betting sites Canada such as Bodog have made the Australians the narrow favorites for glory, putting them at 11/8 (+138). The odds of winning are 7/5 (+140) for the hosts and 9/2 (+450) for the draw, which is how the most recent Ashes series on English soil ended in 2019.
Australia are the current holders of the bragging rights. For the past five years, they had managed to hang onto the little urn ever since they reclaimed the trophy with a 4-0 victory over England on home soil in 2018.
Following a 2-2 tie in 2019, they were able to successfully defend the urn on English soil for the first time since 2001. The Australians once again humiliated their venerable adversaries in the most recent Ashes series, which took place last winter, winning 4-0 in Australia.
The Player of the Series award is given to one player from each squad each year. However, if you perform as well as England did in their last few series played on Australian soil, you might not have a player deserving of the coveted prize. Let’s look back at the player of the series in each of the last three Ashes Series.
Travis Head – 2021/22
Travis Head and his Australian teammates won convincingly 4-0 in 2021/22, and he was named Player of the Series. Over the course of the series, Head amassed 357 runs, including two centuries in the first and fifth test matches. His outstanding batting display aided Australia in winning The Ashes for the third straight series, their finest run in more than 20 years.
For England, the 2021/22 series was important, but for the wrong reasons. For the third time in a row down under, the tourists came out of the series without securing a single victory. They now have a 13-0 record throughout the last three series played on Australian soil, achieving just two meager draws over that span.
Steve Smith & Ben Stokes – 2019
The Ashes Series of 2019 will go down in history. Australia successfully defended the urn on English soil for the first time since 2001 when the series ended in a 2-2 draw. However, the two stars of the event were Steve Smith and Ben Stokes, who shared the Player of the Series title.
Throughout the entire campaign, Smith was in astonishing form. He finished with a whopping 774 runs throughout the course of the five-test series, which ranks him fifth all-time and is the most any player has scored in the last three decades. That number is even more impressive considering the fact that he didn’t play a part in one of the matches following a concussion after being nailed by one of Jofra Archer’s 90 mph bouncers.
It was a hint of things to come when the New South Wales batsman hit back-to-back hundreds in the first test, scoring 144 in his second, sealing his reputation as the finest test match batsman on planet Earth.
However, current England captain Stokes also had his moments. Just one month before the start of the Ashes back in 2019, the Englishman, who was born in New Zealand, had a monstrous performance as he helped his nation claim their maiden World Cup crown. He was up to his old tricks once again once the Ashes series itself got underway.
Australia knew that victory at Headingley in the third test would secure the Ashes with two tests remaining because they were up 1-0 already, and victory would have given them an unassailable 2-0 lead with two matches to play. And after bowling England out for a pitiful 67 in their first innings, it looked like that victory and subsequent retention of the urn was an inevitability.
In the second innings, England needed 358 runs to win; but, on day four, they lost five wickets for just 48 runs and found themselves requiring 73 runs to win with one wicket remaining. However, England found their hero in the form of Ben Stokes. In order to secure the most unlikely of triumphs, he scored the required runs off just 65 balls, sparking scenes of delirium in Yorkshire and providing one of the greatest finishes to any sporting event in history.
Steve Smith – 2017/18
During the Ashes Test series in 2017–18, Steve Smith was once again named Player of the Series. He led Australia to a 4-0 victory at home while showcasing spectacular form once more. That year, he was simply too good for England’s bowling lineup, amassing a massive 687 runs during the series.
He scored three centuries, including an amazing 239 in Perth, and helped forge a number of partnerships that were crucial to Australia’s thumping 4-0 series victory.
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