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2 hours ago, Scott7 said:

Most of the colonials are excellent both as commentators and summarisers. The diction of the Indians and the chap from Sri Lanka is excellent as well as their ability to describe the play.

I’m not impressed with any of the women except the dame from the Caribbean a few years ago. Could listen to her all day.

Women shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near cricket. Not even women’s cricket. 

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12 minutes ago, Bill said:

Women shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near cricket. Not even women’s cricket. 

Who would make the sandwiches and the teas, old boy? And many make quite decent scorers, being neat of hand. 

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1 hour ago, Uilleam said:

Who would make the sandwiches and the teas, old boy? And many make quite decent scorers, being neat of hand. 

As in other walks of life, clerical, cleaning and culinary roles where they're neither seen nor heard could be deemed acceptable.


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(For those who need one, and you know who you are)


This piece from The Times contains as a, ahem, tailpiece, some information on the Wummin's Ashes


Ashes 2023: Full schedule, tickets and how to watch on TV

England vs Australia first Test begins on June 16.

Kit Shepard looks at the full fixtures and breaks down one of the oldest rivalries in sport

Kit Shepard

Tuesday May 16 2023, 4.00pm, The Times





The Ashes, one of sport’s oldest rivalries, resumes this summer. With England revolutionising Test cricket and Australia touring with a strong side, the latest chapter has the makings of a classic that harks back to a time when the five-day format was king.

When are the 2023 Ashes matches? Who are the players to watch for? What is “Bazball”? Find out everything you need to know as the latest battle for the urn begins.


When and where are the Ashes games?

First Test June 16-20, Edgbaston
Second Test June 28-July 2, Lord’s
Third Test July 6-10, Headingley
Fourth Test July 19-23, Old Trafford
Fifth Test July 27-31, the Oval

Each day is scheduled to start at 11am and finish at 6pm, though play can continue to 6.30pm to allow 90 overs to be bowled. Play can also extend beyond that if time has been lost — most likely due to rain or bad light. Lunch breaks last 40 minutes and are scheduled for 1pm, while tea is at 3.40pm and lasts 20 minutes.


Where is the Ashes on TV?


Sky Sports holds the live television rights, with their commentary team including the former England captains Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Nasser Hussain and The Times’s own Mike Atherton. Ricky Ponting and Mark Taylor, past Australia captains, are also involved.

This will be the first Ashes since the death of Shane Warne. The legendary Australia leg spinner — who died last year at the age of 52 — commentated on several series for Sky and he will undoubtedly be commemorated.

The BBC holds secondary rights and is likely to broadcast highlights at the end of each day’s play. Its presenting line-up is not yet confirmed, though Michael Vaughan may return after being cleared of making racist comments during his time at Yorkshire.

The BBC also holds the live radio rights and will broadcast each ball on Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC website.


Can I buy Ashes tickets?


Details are on the ECB website, but the only available tickets are for days four and five at Edgbaston, as well as day five at both Headingley and Old Trafford. The games at Lord’s and the Oval are sold out every day. Tickets are available for all Women’s Ashes fixtures, besides the third ODI, on July 18 at Taunton.


Why is it called the Ashes?


The Ashes origin story is the stuff of sporting legend. In 1882, five years after the first Test between the two teams, Australia won by seven runs at the Oval. England’s defeat, which came despite being set a meagre target of 85, led to The Sporting Times publishing a mock obituary of English cricket. “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia,” the notice concluded.

The joke caught on. When the teams next met, in Australia in early 1883, England won the series and were presented with a four-inch-tall terracotta urn holding ashes. What was burnt to make the contents is unclear — bails is the popular answe, but it may have been a woman’s veil — only enhancing the Ashes’ mythical identity.


Smith parades the urn after Australia retained the Ashes in 2019

Smith parades the urn after Australia retained the Ashes in 2019



Yes, it looks piddly, but the tiny trophy’s genesis ensured it quickly became sacred. The two countries have competed for it since and, even in the age of unnecessarily enormous silverware, the urn is still cricket’s most hallowed object.


Why is the Ashes such a big rivalry?


Because it pits cricket’s two oldest Test nations, whose histories are enduringly intertwined, in a battle for sporting immortality. Players such as Don Bradman, Ian Botham and Andrew Flintoff became household names through the Ashes, while it has also produced several of cricket’s defining moments, such as the Bodyline tour, Warne’s Ball of the Century and the incredible 2005 series.

Cricket is a game of the British Empire and Australia did not commence the process towards full independence from the UK until 1901, so colonialism was central to the rivalry in its early decades. The stereotype of the privileged, soft-centred English against the unruly, hard-nosed Australians is outdated but, considering the importance of history and symbolism to the Ashes, it has not completely faded.

Anglo-Australian cricketing relations are largely cordial, with members of either side regularly teaming up in franchise cricket. Still, this year’s Ashes phoney war has revealed that the modern player is not above some old-fashioned taunting. Ollie Robinson, the England seamer, caused a stir in March by insisting to the BBC that the hosts could give Australia “a good hiding”.

Another England pace bowler, Stuart Broad, has been in wonderfully antagonising form. The previous Ashes series, which Australia won at a canter, was heavily affected by Covid-19 restrictions. Broad declared to the Daily Mail in April that he has “written it off as a void series”, inevitably provoking a reaction down under. He also questioned whether Australia’s batsmen could cope with England’s high-octane approach.


Australia have been quieter, although Steve Smith, in July 2022, speculated whether England’s batting style would come unstuck against his team’s fantastic pace battery.

Expect plenty more. Sly comments (“sledging”, in the cricket lexicon) are a feature of the Ashes.


Who are the Ashes holders?


Australia won the previous series 4-0 at home over the southern hemisphere summer of 2021-22. Rory Burns was bowled by the first ball of the series and England never recovered. They were outplayed in all five Tests — salvaging a draw in Sydney — and were dismissed for less than 200 on six occasions.

As Broad asserted, England’s touring conditions were from ideal. Make no mistake, though, England were annihilated.

Recent history indicates that winning an Ashes series away from home is fiendish, so the most recent edition in England, in 2019, may be a more instructive bellwether of how this summer will play out. That instalment ended 2-2, largely because of Smith’s otherworldly batting and Ben Stokes’s extraordinary fourth-innings century for England at Headingley.

If a series is drawn, the Ashes remains with whoever won them most recently, so Australia retained the Ashes in 2019 and would do so this year with another stalemate. England have not lifted the urn since 2015.


Who has won the Ashes the most?


Australia have won 34 series, England 32, and six have been drawn. In terms of individual matches, Australia have won 140 to England’s 108, with 92 draws.


Can England win the Ashes this time?

Definitely. It is difficult to read too much into recent Ashes results because England have been utterly transformed over the past year.

After losing a series in the West Indies in March 2022, England had won one of their past 17 Tests and were an utterly desolate group. Joe Root subsequently stepped down as captain and they were also without a permanent head coach.


But crises offer fertile ground for revolution. The inexperienced, laid-back Rob Key was appointed as the managing director of England men’s cricket in April, and he promptly named Stokes as the new captain. Brendon “Baz” McCullum, formerly a destructive wicketkeeper-batsman for New Zealand, was then appointed as the head coach in May. The seeds of “Bazball” had been sown.

With Key unbothered by tradition, McCullum transferring his playing style to coaching and Stokes on board for the ride, England became unrecognisable. They scored at a rapid rate throughout last summer while the atmosphere, which previously appeared to cripple players, encouraged risk-taking and fearlessness.

The formula was as effective as it was enthralling. Three remarkable run chases led to a 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand at the start of last summer, before 378 was knocked off with ease against India. England then battled back to beat South Africa 2-1 in a hectic contest.

The chaos continued through the winter. Another 3-0 whitewash victory, this time in the arid conditions of Pakistan, featured England smashing 506 on the series’ opening day and two dramatic finishes. Another success in New Zealand made it ten wins in 11 Tests under McCullum and Stokes.

An 11th seemed certain midway through the second and final Test of the New Zealand series in Wellington. However, England lost an incredible contest by one run after their aggressive move to enforce the follow-on backfired. Stokes, maintaining the defiantly carefree aura that has characterised his captaincy, unapologetically defended his approach.

The reaction captured how England, as well as becoming an imperious winning machine, are approaching Test cricket with a disdain for convention and orthodoxy. Combining the rollicking tactics with the unparalleled pressure of the Ashes will be a fascinating experiment.


How is Australia’s form?

Solid, despite some drama off the field. Justin Langer resigned as Australia’s head coach three weeks after the previous Ashes series, as his stern, old-school leadership was no longer meshing with the players.

Australia then ground out a 1-0 series win in Pakistan (a fine achievement, even after England’s spectacular whitewash) and drew 1-1 in Sri Lanka. West Indies and South Africa were dispatched at home over the 2022-23 summer, before Australia lost 2-1 in India on pitches that turned around corners.

There is a limit to how much can be gleaned from these results. Although Australia’s away form is patchy, conditions in England are radically different from those in Asia.


The World Test Championship final between India and Australia may be a more useful gauge. This game takes place at the Oval the week before the Ashes, offering Australia a chance to acclimatise.

England also play one Test in the lead-up to the series, taking on Ireland in a four-day game that starts on June 1.


Which players should I watch out for?


Jonny Bairstow was the original poster boy of Bazball, smashing four hundreds in five innings last summer, each in dashing style. However, a freak slip on the golf course in September left him with severe leg and ankle injuries that ruled him out of the winter. He returned last month for Yorkshire and is certain to come back into the England team, probably replacing either the wicketkeeper Ben Foakes or the opener Zak Crawley.

In Bairstow’s absence, Harry Brook has taken on the role of destructive middle-order phenomenon. In his six-Test career, the 24-year-old has hit three centuries in Pakistan, as well as 186 in Wellington. An Ashes debut beckons.

Root, the highest Test runscorer among active players, is England’s most technically assured batsman and has thrived without the burden of captaincy. He does not score as quickly as Bairstow or Brook but has played with increasing flamboyance under the new leadership. He is without an Ashes hundred since 2015, though.

Stokes’s troublesome left knee could limit his impact, particularly with the ball. Nevertheless, few players can match his talent or pain threshold and he surely has at least one match-defining performance in him. The 31-year-old’s captaincy is also invaluable.

With the ball, the timeless wonders James Anderson (aged 40) and Broad (36) are still going strong. The swing-bowling gurus thrive in traditional English conditions, though Stokes’s desire for “fast, flat wickets” could favour those who can touch 90mph, such as Mark Wood. Sadly any chance of Jofra Archer making an appearance was ruled out when England confirmed that the fast bowler would miss the entire series because of a recurrence of his elbow injury.

Jack Leach was targeted by Australia in 2021-22. Under Stokes, the left-arm spinner has had success in tempting batsmen into false strokes with brave field settings, so this will be an interesting subplot to monitor.

As for Australia, Smith is the main man once again. The idiosyncratic batsman amassed 774 runs in seven innings in 2019 and is reacquainting himself to English conditions with a stint at Sussex.

He is one of several Australians playing in the County Championship. Marnus Labuschagne, who can rival Smith for eccentricity and relentless run-making, is with Glamorgan.

Travis Head, the middle-order batsman, is perhaps best suited to mirroring England’s gung-ho approach. David Warner will be the home crowd’s pantomime villain, so long as his awful record in England does not cost him his place at the top of the order.

Australia’s bowling attack is led by Pat Cummins, their captain. Fast, accurate, athletic and intelligent, he may be the most complete quick in the world. Mitchell Starc, the left-armer, is more volatile but possesses a scorching yorker. Josh Hazlewood, metronomic and wiry, completes Australia’s familiar pace triptych.

Scott Boland, who took six for seven against England on his debut in 2021 and averages a wicket every 13 runs in his short Test career, is another useful seamer.

Australia have named their squad only for the first two Test matches, allowing them to pluck any in-form players from the championship (or beyond) for the final three games. Rotation of fast bowlers is to be expected in a five-Test series, so keep an eye on Glamorgan’s Michael Neser.


Australia initial Ashes squad Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.


Isn’t the Ashes usually later in the summer?

Yes. For the first time in Ashes history, a series in England will take place without a single day’s cricket in August. This break with tradition is to make space for the Hundred, England’s domestic franchise competition.

The unprecedented schedule reflects the growing vulnerability of Test matches. Short-format franchise cricket provides more instantaneous and lucrative entertainment, while the process has been accelerated by Saudi Arabia’s desire to set up a T20 competition.

Last month The Times revealed that some English players were asked by IPL franchise owners whether, in principle, they would accept a deal that would make an Indian team their main employer, rather than the ECB or a county. Discussions have also taken place with high-profile Australian players.

The two Ashes nations have relatively wealthy cricket boards and the series remains immensely prestigious, so neither side will have to squabble with franchises for player availability. Nevertheless, Tests unfettered by the short-format juggernaut are a dying breed.



When is the Women’s Ashes?

Over June and July, though the format is different. There is one Test (the winner will earn four points), and then three T20Is and three ODIs (worth two points each). Most points wins, with points shared in the event of a draw, ties or no results. The major change to the structure is the introduction of the five-day Test, as each of the past three Women’s Ashes Tests were drawn over four days.


Australia have held the Women’s Ashes since 2015 and can make a good case for being the most dominant team in sport. They have won the past four global tournaments, 41 of their past 42 ODIs, and 22 of their past 23 T20s (excluding abandoned games). They boast dazzling batters like Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy, versatile all-rounders such as Ellyse Perry, Ashleigh Gardner and Tahlia McGrath, and a composed captain in Meg Lanning.

England, captained by Heather Knight, are ushering in a new generation after years of a rather settled XI. Issy Wong, 20, was superb in the inaugural Women’s Premier League last March and could replace the retired Katherine Sciver-Brunt in the seam department, while Alice Capsey, 18, is a hugely exciting all-rounder. Nat Sciver-Brunt, another all-rounder and much more established at the age of 30, is the reigning ICC women’s cricketer of the year.

England are a good side, Australia are a transcendent one. The touring team start as the favourites.


Women’s Ashes fixtures

Test June 22-26, Trent Bridge
First T20 July 1, Edgbaston (6.35pm start)
Second T20 July 5, the Oval (6pm)
Third T20 July 8, Lord’s (6.35pm)
First ODI July 12, County Ground, Bristol (1pm)
Second ODI July 16, Ageas Bowl (11am)
Third ODI July 18, County Ground, Taunton (1pm)

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10 minutes ago, Rousseau said:

I always thought Australia dominated the Ashes, so I'm surprised to see it's 34-32. 

So am I - didn't think it was even close.

I see Australia have won 150 tests to England's 110, with 96 matches drawn.

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The test results suggest that Australia tend to win big in a successful series, while Englands series wins are closer affairs.

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2 hours ago, Bill said:

The test results suggest that Australia tend to win big in a successful series, while Englands series wins are closer affairs.

Glenn McGrath's 5-0 to Oz predictions were often pretty accurate.

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We used to have eight ball overs in Australia might be worth giving it another try if only to keep the game flowing and also give both sides a reminder about the bloody over rate .

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  • Rousseau changed the title to Cricket 2023/24

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