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Ashes history - Aussie dominance

Ian Botham at Headingley
The 1981 series is known as Botham's Ashes after his heroics

England enjoyed some Ashes highlights during the 1980s but Australia then took the upper hand, and held it.

Mike Brearley led England to successive series victories over a team shorn of its stars by Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket in 1977 and 1978-79.

Ian Botham shot to stardom in 1981 and England won in 1985 and in Australia under Mike Gatting in 1986-87.

But the dominant sides of Allan Border, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh then saw Australia hold the urn for 16 years.

England made a winning start to the 1970s, claiming a 2-0 victory under Ray Illingworth, with the pace of John Snow proving decisive.

Honours were even in England in 1972, with Bob Massie's 8-84 and 8-53 on debut for the tourists at Lord's the highlight.

Ian Botham after England's win at Headingley

Ashes review - 1981 (UK only)

Australia regained the Ashes in emphatic fashion in 1974-75 as Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson tore into an ageing England batting line-up.

They also won in England that summer, Tony Greig succeeding Mike Denness as England skipper after an innings defeat at Edgbaston.

The Packer controversy saw Brearley replace Greig in 1977. Geoff Boycott's recall and Botham's call-up were key factors in England's 3-0 win.

England also romped to a 5-1 tour victory in 1978-79. A full-strength Aussie side gained revenge in 1979-80, but the Ashes were not at stake.

The 1981 series has gone down in cricketing legend as Botham's finest hour, but it started badly for the all-rounder.

After 13 winless Tests as captain, including the first two of this series, he was replaced by Brearley.

England faced an innings defeat at Headingley in the third match, but Botham's heroic 149 not out, and Bob Willis's 8-43 sealed an unlikely victory.

Botham's bowling secured another win at Edgbaston, then a second innings 118 from 102 balls helped England triumph at Old Trafford for a 3-1 winning margin.

The Ashes returned to Australian hands in 1982-83, with Geoff Lawson's 34 wickets and 469 runs from Kim Hughes.

David Gower and Allan Border after England win the 1985 Ashes series

Ashes review - 1985 (UK only)

Home advantage helped England, skipper David Gower leading by example with 732 runs to take the 1985 series 3-1, and they retained them in Australia 18 months later.

Chris Broad starred with three centuries in a series England dominated.

They were not to lift the Ashes urn again for 18 years, though, with Border's team winning 4-0 in 1989 as England, under Gower, struggled with injuries, indifferent form and an unsettled line-up.

In 1993, mesmerising spin brought Shane Warne 34 wickets and solid batting right down the order secured the Aussies a 4-1 triumph.

Steve Waugh celebrates at The Oval in 2001
Waugh captained one of the best Aussie sides ever

The run continued under Taylor in 1994-95 as Australia continued to dominate England in all departments.

Things were a lot closer in England in 1997 as the hosts hammered Australia in the first Test, Nasser Hussain hitting a career-best 207.

But the tourists got into their stride before England made it 2-3 at The Oval.

Australia ended the century with a 3-1 Ashes win in 1998-99, taking less than three days to wrap up the second Test by seven wickets.

England's success against lesser opponents under new coach Duncan Fletcher and captain Hussain brought optimism.

But Waugh's team, fresh from a record 16 successive Test victories, dominated the start of the next century too.

Were it not for Mark Butcher's match-winning 173 at Headingley, Australia would have celebrated a deserved series sweep.

Injuries beset the England touring team in 2002-03, with Simon Jones rupturing knee ligaments in the opening day in Brisbane.

Michael Vaughan provided the tourists' sole bright spot, with 177 at Adelaide, 145 in Melbourne and 183 in a consolation victory in Sydney.





see also
Ashes Legends XI
18 Sep 06 |  England

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