As one of the oldest rivalries in sport returns to England, we take a quick look at why The Ashes remains as one of the hottest fixtures between two sides in the world.

The biennial tournament remains one of the most important dates in cricket fans’ calendars, as England and Australia, two of the world’s most famous cricketing nations, battle it out for one of the most iconic trophies in world sport.

Contested since the 1880s, The Ashes were originally named after Australia’s victory in England was dubbed ‘the death of English cricket,’ with the ashes being taken back to Australia.

Since then, no love lost and dramatic five-day tournaments have dominated the cricketing world, and nearly a century and a half later, the passion for the competition does not look to be slowing down.

Over the years, many cricketers have fallen and risen at the Ashes, most recently Steve Smith returning from a one-year ban to almost single-handedly win the tournament against a dominant England side.

People call the tournament ‘endless’ and ‘unpredictable’ online ahead of its return, and one of the quintessential placeholders in all of sport.

Others have been comparing it to sporting competitions at the heights of the Ryder Cup or Wimbledon.

Currently, Australia is in a dominant period, winning the last three Ashes series, with England not having won a tournament since 2015.

Prior to that, England’s 2005 Ashes win remains one of the most iconic moments of British sport this century, stopping Australia winning a ninth consecutive series and bringing back the trophy for the first time since 1987.

Overall, the score is 34-32 in Australia’s favour, with England looking to get closer to equalising that score on home turf.

Five matches will take place at Edgbaston, Lords, Headlingley, Old Trafford and the Oval, with this series being the first time no test has taken place in August, due to The Hundred starting at the same time.

Pat Cummins’ Australia side are the slight favourites going into it after three successive victories, but Ben Stokes and his side will aim to not be without the trophy come the end of July.

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