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  Friday, 25 May, 2001, 14:14 GMT 15:14 UK
Ashes History: 1970-1999
Ian Botham on his way to 149 not out against Australia, Headingley 1981
1981 and all that: Botham hooks Lawson at Headingley
The past 30 years have seen Australia in Ashes ascendancy, but a revitalised England will be looking to steal a march this summer.

After Australia's dominance in the 1960s, they 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 (2-2) in England in 1972 as bowlers - fast and spin - went to town. Bob Massie's eight for 84 and eight for 53 on his debut for the tourists at Lord's was the pick of the bunch.

Australia regained the Ashes in emphatic fashion in 1974-75 as Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson tore into an ageing England batting line-up. The hosts won 4-1.

  The Ashes: 1970-
1970-71: Aus 0-2 Eng
1972: Eng 2-2 Aus
1974-75: Aus 4-1 Eng
1975: Eng 0-1 Aus
1977: Eng 3-0 Aus
1978-79: Aus 1-5 Eng
1981: Eng 3-1 Aus
1982-83: Aus 2-1 Eng
1985: Eng 3-1 Aus
1986-87: Aus 1-2 Eng
1989: Eng 0-4 Aus
1990-91: Aus 3-0 Eng
1993: Eng 1-4 Aus
1994-95: Aus 3-1 Eng
1997: Eng 2-3 Aus
1998-99: Aus 3-1 Eng
They won in England that summer, as victory in the first Test was followed by three draws. Tony Greig succeeded Mike Denness as England skipper after an innings defeat at Edgbaston.

Controversy over Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket (WSC) saw Mike Brearley replace Greig in 1977. Geoff Boycott's recall and Ian Botham's call-up were key factors in England's 3-0 win.

With WSC robbing Australia of several stars, England romped to a 5-1 tour victory in 1978-79. A full-strength Aussie side gained a 3-0 revenge in 1979-80, but the Ashes were not at stake.

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

David Gower
Gower tasted Ashes success as skipper in 1985
After 13 winless Tests as captain, he was replaced, after a loss and a draw, by Brearley.

England faced an innings defeat at Headingley in the third match, but Botham's 149 not out, and Bob Willis's eight for 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 (av 67.00) helping the home side to a 2-1 win.

Home advantage helped England, with skipper David Gower (732 runs) leading by example, take the 1985 Ashes series 3-1.

Three centuries

They retained them under Mike Gatting in 1986-87, winning 2-1 Down Under, aided by three Chris Broad centuries and tight bowling from Gladstone Small.

Allan Border's Aussie's grabbed the Ashes back in 1989, winning 4-0 as England, under Gower, struggled with injuries, indifferent form and an unsettled line-up.

England were winless again in 1990-91 as Australia's fast bowlers thrived on home soil to deliver a 3-0 triumph.

Australia's Mark Taylor lifts the Ashes trophy, January 1999
1999: Taylor lifts the new crystal Ashes trophy
Two years later, the Aussies delivered another three-match winning margin as mesmerising spin from Shane Warne (34 wickets) and solid batting right down the order secured a 4-1 triumph.

The run continued under Mark Taylor in 1994-95 as Australia continued to dominate England in all departments, winning 3-1.

Things were a lot closer in England in 1997 as the hosts hammered Australia in the first Test at Edgbaston.

But the tourists got into their stride, winning at Old Trafford, Headingley and Trent Bridge 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.

Their batting showed signs of frailty, especially in Melbourne where Alec Stewart's side won by 12 runs, but Steve Waugh and Michael Slater steered them clear of danger.

The current Australian team top the world rankings, but England - after series wins over Zimbabwe, West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka - are raring to go.

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