Coming out on top Down Under

Only seven England sides have won the urn in Australia in the last 100 years. Here's how

* 1986/87
Australia 1-2 England
Captain: Mike Gatting

For 23 years Gatting has been dining out on being the last England captain to secure the Ashes Down Under. So popular is Gatting that he will not go un-dined if England win this time. It was a peculiar, unexpected victory driven by a confluence of circumstances. There was Botham's last hurrah, Chris Broad's three hundreds, Graham Dilley's early series pace followed by Gladstone Small's deserved moment in the sun, Gower's occasional genius, two spinners in Phil Edmonds and John Emburey. And that was the last time. Until now.

* 1978-79
Australia 1-5 England
Captain: Mike Brearley

The least celebrated by far of English victories. World Series Cricket, a breakaway tournament offering hitherto untold money, had decimated Australia's team. England, marshalled by Mike Brearley, were perhaps fortunate to win so well. But it heralded Ian Botham's Ashes career. Derek Randall played one of the sturdiest of all Ashes innings (150 in 10 hours). Botham took 23 series wickets but not many people know that so did the present chairman of selectors Geoff Miller.

* 1970-71
Australia 0-2 England
Captain: Raymond Illingworth

Perhaps the single greatest example (including Jardine) of a captain running a tour. Illingworth was tough, shrewd, determined and knew how to win. It was, like the 2010 vintage, well-balanced. Three opening batsmen were deliberately chosen to fill the first three places and it worked. Geoff Boycott was in his pomp, John Edrich and Brian Luckhurst not far behind. The crucial component was John Snow, whose pace was significant throughout and gave them a lead.

* 1954-55
Australia 1-3 England
Captain: Len Hutton

For the first time England were led by a hard-nosed professional captain in Hutton. He was already an Ashes hero, having scored 364 in his sixth Test back in 1938. Like Jardine before him he built a side to beat Australia. After the first match at Brisbane, when England lost badly after putting Australia in, he made the heart-breaking decision to drop stalwart Alec Bedser. And then came "Typhoon" Tyson. Frank Tyson played only 17 Tests but in these five he took 28 wickets at electrifying pace supported by the magnificent Brian Statham.

* 1932-33
Australia 1-4 England
Captain: Douglas Jardine

The most famous Test series, one of the most famous sporting events of all. Bodyline, conceived by Jardine, executed by Larwood, swept all before it and almost broke diplomatic links between the countries. Designed to stop Bradman the leg theory worked, keeping his average to a mere 56. It is too often forgotten what a jolly decent side England were. Hammond was back with two centuries, Bill Voce and Gubby Allen supported Larwood. But it left a sour flavour which persists still and poor Larwood never played another Test.

* 1928-29
Australia 1-4 England
Captain: Percy Chapman

England went as holders of the Ashes, having regained them with a nerve-tingling 1-0 win in 1926. Starting with the 675-run win in Brisbane they took all before them in timeless Tests, winning the first four. It was Wally Hammond's series as no series has been for an England batsman in Australia. He scored four hundreds including two doubles. A certain Harold Larwood, who was to achieve enduring fame four years later, led England's attack with Maurice Tate, though left-arm spinner Jack White took most wickets. The first Test saw the debut of a batsman who was dropped for the second but went on to reasonable success. His name? Don Bradman.

* 1911-12
Australia 1-4 England
Captain: Johnny Douglas

The series is littered with names who reside forever in the pantheon. Jack Hobbs, Wilfred Rhodes, Frank Woolley, Sidney Barnes for England, Clem Hill, Warwick Armstrong, Victor Trumper for Australia. Australia had won in England in 1909 and looked like winning again when they took the first Test by 146 runs. But then Hobbs and Rhodes took over with the bat, Hobbs scoring hundreds in the next three matches, the pair putting on a record first-wicket 323 in the fourth. Barnes and the unheralded Frank Foster were a lethal pairing. Douglas, an old-fashioned amateur, has never been accorded due approbation.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future