The weather is warming up, wasps are flying about and wreaking their unique brand of havoc, and rusty old barbecues are being dragged out of garages as we speak. It can mean only one thing: British summertime is here.
As the football and rugby seasons come to their thrilling conclusion, the nation’s sporting attention will be drawn to the sheer wealth of cricketing action set to take place up and down the country.
The cricket calendar is as packed as ever, with both test cricket and the short forms of the game well represented, with a hugely competitive county schedule backed by a visit from England’s Antipodean cousins from New Zealand.
And then, of course, comes the Ashes.
With so much going on during the domestic and international scene, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest news, updates and stats. Luckily Coral has got you covered – and you could always place a few bets on the cricket while you are there.
The Biggest Test of Them All
The Ashes is undoubtedly the jewel in England cricket’s crown. The rivalry with the Aussies dates back centuries, and is still as fiercely contested today as it was back then.
Just thinking of some of the batsmen that have graced an Ashes series….Don Bradman, Alan Border, Steve Waugh, David Gower, Graeme Gooch, Kevin Pietersen….makes the mouth water.
And what about the bowlers: Merv Hughes muttering away under his trademark ‘tache, Jeff Thompson and Dennis Lillee thundering, Glenn McGrath nagging away and Shane Warne turning it around corners.
But let’s be fair to England too – they’ve enjoyed Ian Botham’s match-winning performances, Jim Laker causing havoc and Jimmy Anderson swinging it at right angles.
Ashes matches have thrown up a catalogue of unforgettable moments – too many to mention in fact. But if anything sums up the animosity, the rivalry and the respect it was the conclusion of the 2005 Ashes test at Edgbaston, and that ‘spirit of cricket’ moment between Freddie Flintoff and Brett Lee.
The intensity is set to reach boiling point during the 2015 series too. The five-test competition will start in Cardiff on July 8th, and take in dates at Lords, Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, before culminating at the Oval on August 20th.
England will be hoping for a vastly-improved performance after their 0-5 drubbing in Australia in 2013/14 – only the third whitewash in Ashes history.
Once the hysteria over Kevin Pieterson’s non-return to the team dies down, England fans will be full of optimism. The likes of Joe Root, Gary Ballance and Ian Bell are scoring plenty of runs, and look set to be joined by talented newcomer Adam Lyth.
If Alastair Cook can continue his promising run with the bat in the Caribbean, and his side can find a wicket-taking first-change seam bowler, they could well give the Aussies a terrific run for their money under blue British skies.