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BBC Ashes archive

Ian Botham stands on the Headingley balcony in 1981
The Headingley crowd hails Ian Botham in 1981
We are adding some of our archive footage of previous England-Australia battles onto the BBC Sport website in the build-up to the forthcoming Ashes series.

Users in the UK can relive some of the greatest moments in Ashes history in our A-Z and some of the best series in detail in our radio and TV documentaries.

Due to rights restrictions we are only able to show action from pre-1993 home Ashes matches and we cannot offer many of our archive videos to users outside the UK.


We will be releasing our look back at the best moments from Ashes history in four parts, leading up to the first Test between Australia and England in Brisbane on 23 November.

Here's what you have to look forward to...


  • A is for... Ashes and Alderman
    The story behind the inception of the Ashes in 1882, the great cricketing contest between England and Australia, and the Aussie fast bowler who terrorised the English batsmen in 1980s.

  • B is for... Bodyline and Brothers
    The controversial tactic employed by England captain Douglas Jardine on the 1932-33 tour Down Under and centuries for Greg and Ian Chappell in 1972 then Steve and Mark Waugh in 1993.

  • C is for... Carrying the bat
    Openers Geoff Marsh and Mark Taylor survive an entire day's play at Trent Bridge to hammer home Australia's advantage in the 1989 series.

  • D is for... Donald Bradman
    Widely regarded as the greatest batsman ever to play the game of cricket.

  • E is for... Edgbaston 81 and Edmonds
    Ian Botham wins an historic match for England with an inspired spell of bowling and spinner Phil Edmonds takes five wickets on debut.

  • F is for... Fielding
    Some of the best, and worst, incidents in the field.


  • G is for... G-Force
    England's sparkling batting line-up of the 1980s: Mike Gatting, Graham Gooch and David Gower.

  • H is for... Headingley 77, Headingley 81 and Heroes
    The scene of Geoffrey Boycott's 100th century in 1977 and Ian Botham and Bob Willis' heroics in 1981, plus some of the outstanding players to have played in the Ashes.

  • I is for... Illingworth
    A top-class off-spinner and the captain to bring the Ashes home in 1971 after 12 years in Australian hands.

  • J is for... Jubilation
    Scenes of celebration as England win the Ashes in 1956.

  • K is for...Keepers
    A selection of the greatest glovemen to grace the Ashes.

  • L is for...Lillee
    The talismanic fast bowler of the 1970s Australian side.


  • M is for...Massie's Match and Merv
    Two more outstanding Australian bowlers, the first taking 16-wickets on his debut at Lord's the second becoming a cult figure in the world of cricket.

  • N is for... Nineteen
    England spinner Jim Laker takes an incredible 19 wickets in the 1956 Test at Old Trafford.

  • O is for... Out!
    The finger's up - these batsmen have got to go.

  • P is for... Power
    For some batsmen a patient approach is what Test cricket is all about, for others however...

  • Q is for... Quickies
    Some of the sharpest bowlers to skittle the stumps in the Ashes.

  • R is for...Richie
    The inspirational Australian skipper who became the voice of cricket.

  • S is for... Sixes
    Nothing gets the crowd on their feet like a ball hurtling over the rope.


  • T is for...Trueman
    Fiery Fred tears into the Australian batsmen on his way to a world record.

  • U is for...Umpire
    Often the bane of batsmen and bowlers alike, the men in white coats are also some of the most memorable characters in the game.

  • V is for...Volunteers
    Hundreds turn up at the Oval to clear the outfield of water and help England win the Oval Test in 1968 and square the series.

  • W is for...Warne
    Nothing announces your arrival on the Ashes scene like a leg-spinner that pitches outside leg and takes out the off stump - just ask Mike Gatting.

  • X is for...X-Rated
    A cricket ball can be a dangerous weapon, in the right hands.

  • Y is for...Yesteryear
    The Ashes comes with a rich history, making possession of that little urn all the more special.

  • Z is for...?
    You'll just have to wait and see.


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