Sat, 23 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], June 10 (ANI): Many new records are expected to be created as the traditional rivals England and Australia begin the Ashes series on June 16 with the hosts aiming to avenge their 4-0 loss in the 2021-22 season. Australia too will be aiming to win their first Ashes series in England in over 20 years.

The hosts are also charged up by the 'Bazball' revolution brought by skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum, which has seen England win 11 of their last 13 Tests and dominate their opponents with an attacking, aggressive and positive cricket that aims for victory.

Here is a look at some iconic moments the traditional rivalry between the two sides.

-Don Bradman's carnage at Headingley (1930)Before the 'Bazball', there was 'BradBall' by Don Bradman. The Australian legend batted like a modern-day ODI/T20 batter before these two formats were perhaps nowhere in imagination. England was at receiving end of his assaults. One such instance was in 1930 at Headingley, when Bradman raced to 219 at Tea on the opening day itself. At the end of the day, he ended on 309, a record that has not been touched to this day.

-The 'Bodyline' series (1932-33)Don Bradman was a threat to England. But the Australian team of the 1930s had some other outstanding batters too, like Stan McCabe and skipper Bill Woodfull. To combat Australia's high-level skill with the bat, England bowled their deliveries right on their bodies, hoping that their opponents would try shielding their chest and heads with their bats and a consequent poor shot/deflection would give a catch to fielders standing at the leg side.

The tactic was aggressive and was slammed as being unsportsmanlike. But it did yield results as England bowlers could keep Australia's batters quiet and get wickets more quickly to seal the series 4-1. The win-at-any-cost attitude of England and the large-scale attention it received from the media made it an iconic Ashes moment.

-Bradman denied a unique hundred (1948)In 1948, Bradman was on the verge of closing a legendary career, playing his 52nd and final match. He needed four runs to get a Test average of 100 runs. But he was dismissed for a second ball duck by spinner Eric Hollies. Bradman ended his career with 6,996 runs at an average of 99.94, denied what would have been a century average. It was his seventh Test duck.

-Jim Laker's 19-wicket-haul (1956)The English cricketer's effort that saw him run riot over Australian line-up is something that is unlikely to be replicated ever again. The off-spinner took 10 wickets in the second innings, ending with 10/53, becoming the first bowler to do so. Laker had taken 9/37 in the first innings. Had Tony Lock not dismissed Jim Burke in the first innings, Laker could have taken all 20! But despite missing out on this wicket, Laker's record stands intact.

-The Botham's Ashes (1981)The 1981 Ashes will be known as the 'Botham's Ashes' due to exploits of England's legendary all-rounder Ian Botham. After losing the first match and drawing the second, England needed someone to step up. Botham did just that smashing 149 in 148 balls, with 27 fours and a six. Australia was bundled out for 111 while chasing 130, thanks to Bob Willis's spell of 8/43.

Botham topped England's batting and bowling charts. In six matches and 12 innings, he scored 399 runs at an average of 36.27. He scored two centuries and a fifty, with best score of 149. He also took 34 wickets, third-highest in the series, with best figures of 6/95.

-Shane Warne's 'Ball of The Century' (1993)Eleven Tests old then, Warne's first Ashes ball was a masterpiece. The leg spinner's release was smooth, the delivery dipped towards leg stump before it turned the other way, breaching Mike Gatting's off stump. Gatting, one of the best players of spin back then, was left in complete shock and disbelief. It announced to the world that Warne was a prodigy and he proved it with every performance over the years after what he called a "life-changing ball". This ball was dubbed as the 'Ball of the Century'.

-Flintoff-Lee moment (2005)The 2005 Ashes can be summed up by this image - so close, but so far. In the second Test, Australia had a chance to take a 2-0 lead while chasing 282. When the final batter Michael Kasprowicz fell for Australia, all-rounder Brett Lee was at the other end, shattered. Australia had lost the match by two runs and these two runs proved to be the difference in England's 2-1 win in the series at home.

After the final wicket fell, Flintoff, England's star in the series, consoled Lee by putting his hand on his shoulder, creating one of the best images captured in the sport's history, highlighting the respect that lies somewhere in this rivalry that sees merciless, hard cricket.

-Shane Warne's 700th wicket (2007)Shane Warne was bidding farewell to the sport with this series. The stage was set for a farewell to remember. In the fourth Test, Warne removed Andrew Strauss to get to his 700th wicket in the longer format, becoming the first bowler to do so. Australia whitewashed England 5-0 at home and Warne's 196 runs in five matches and 23 wickets had a role to play in it. After a memorable final Test which also saw him pick his 1000th international wicket, Warne retired from the game.

-England's Ashes win at Australia (2011)After winning the Ashes in 2009 at home, England toured Australia, searching for a series win in Australian conditions. What followed was a series to remember for England as the visitors' Alastair Cook (776 runs), Jonathan Trott (445 runs), James Anderson (24 wickets), Chris Tremlett (17 wickets) and Greame Swann (15 wickets) delivered an all-round effort to win the series 3-1, first time in 24 years that they won Ashes in Australia.

-Ben Stokes's Headingley knock (2019)After Ian Botham's exploits at Headingley, it was Stokes's turn to replicate the same heroics at the same venue to level the series and save The Ashes. Chasing 359 in the third Test, England were 286/9, with Jack Leach the only one left to give Stokes some company. What followed was a masterclass in batting by Stokes and partnership as well. Out of 76 runs scored, Leach scored only one in 17 balls. Stokes stayed unbeaten on 135 in 219 balls, with 11 fours and eight sixes to power England to a one-wicket win to level the series. (ANI)

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