BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese

BBC Sport
 You are in: Cricket: The Ashes: History  
Sport Front Page
The Ashes
World Cup
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Other Sports
Special Events
Sports Talk
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
Around The UK: 
N Ireland

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather

  Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
Ashes History: 1903-38
Donald Bradman and McCabe, Headingley, 1930
Bradman (left) goes into bat at Headingley in 1930
Having failed to recover the Ashes for four series, England were guided to a 3-2 tour success in 1903-04 by Pelham Warner.

A seesaw period ensued, with neither side dominating before the First World War.

England won again in 1905 (2-0), but Australia claimed a 4-1 Ashes win over the tourists in 1907-08, and won 2-1 on foreign soil in 1909.

England then notched up a 4-1 win in Australia (1911-12), with Jack Hobbs hitting 662 (82.75 av).

They retained the Ashes 1-0 that summer before hostilities curtailed the contest until 1920.

  Ashes history

1903-04: Aus 2-3 Eng
1905: Eng 2-0 Aus
1907-08: Aus 4-1 Eng
1909: Eng 1-2 Aus
1911-12: Aus 1-4 Eng
1912: Eng 1-0 Aus
1920-21: Aus 5-0 Eng
1921: Eng 0-3 Aus
1924-25: Aus 4-1 Eng
1926: Eng 1-0 Aus
1928-29: Aus 1-4 Eng
1930: Eng 1-2 Aus
1932-33: Aus 1-4 Eng
1934: Eng 1-2 Aus
1936-37: Aus 3-2 Eng
1938: Eng 1-1 Aus
When it resumed, England endured the only 5-0 series defeat in Ashes history on their 1920-21 tour, with Australia in rampant form with both bat and ball.

The tone was set when the visitors were set 659 to win in the first Test. England suffered an innings defeat in the second, lost the third by 119 runs, the fourth by eight wickets and the fifth by nine.

The Aussies continued in a similar vein in England, winning the first three Tests to retain the Ashes before drawing the last two.

A three-year gap before their next tour to Australia did little to restore English fortunes as they went down 4-1.

But they regained the Ashes in 1926. Four of the five matches were drawn but, with Hobbs in fine form, England won the final Test at the Oval by 289 runs.

England gained further ground on their old rivals in 1928-29, winning 4-1 in a tour dominated by performances with the bat.

Don Bradman made his debut in the first Test in Brisbane, where the visitors won by a record 675 runs.

Dropped for the second match, he returned to hit the first of his 29 Test centuries in the third.


The Don came into his own on tour in 1930, making 974 runs (139.14 av) as Australia won back the Ashes by a 2-1 margin.

His feats included a 131 at Trent Bridge, a flawless 254 at Lord's, a first innings 334 at Headingley, and 232 at The Oval.

Clearly, stopping Bradman was key for England, and new captain Douglas Jardine devised a plan to do just that for the 1932-33 tour.

Using the pace and accuracy of Harold Larwood, backed by Bowes and Voce, England employed short-pitched "bodyline" bowling to deadly effect.

England cricket captain Douglas Jardine, Melbourne, 1933
Jardine leads England out at Melbourne
With Bradman missing through illness, they won the first Test by 10 wickets, with Larwood taking five in each innings.

The Don's return in the second was short-lived, out first ball, but he hit an unbeaten second innings 103 as Australia levelled the series.

England's bodyline tactics caused such a furore in the third Test that the crowd had to be restrained. Even diplomatic relations were tested as the tourists won by 338 runs.

They took the fourth match by six wickets, and the fifth by eight. Bradman was restricted to a 56.57 average - good by other standards, but not his.

Larwood took 33 wickets (19.51 av) but never played for England again.


Australia regained the Ashes in 1934, winning 2-1 on tour, with the Don making up for a slow start with two superlative innings.

The final two Tests were drawn, but the first innings of the fourth at Headingley saw Bradman (304) and Ponsford (181) share a fourth wicket stand of 388.

In the fifth at The Oval they surpassed that in the first innings with a 451 second wicket stand, Ponsford hitting 266 and Bradman 244, as Australia won by 562 runs.

In Bradman's first Ashes contest as captain, Australia took a close 1936-37 series 3-2.

England won the first Test by 322 runs, dismissing the Aussies for 58 in the second innings.

Len Hutton passes Bradman's 334 record at The Oval in 1938
Hutton is congratulated for passing Bradman's record
A first innings 231 from Walter Hammond then helped them to victory by an innings and 22 runs in the second game, before the home side fought back.

Australia won the third Test in Melbourne by 365 runs, having left England chasing 689 for victory. Bradman hit 270 in the second innings.

The fourth was closer, but another Bradman second innings double century (212) anchored a series-levelling victory.

In the fifth Test, a rain-affected pitch left England following on 365 behind, and Australia won by an innings and 200 runs.

The final pre-war Ashes series saw Bradman pass Hobbs' record of 12 Ashes centuries totalling 3,636 tour runs, but England's Len Hutton stole the limelight.

A high-scoring first Test at Nottingham was drawn, and the second at Lord's ended the same way despite a first innings of 240 from Hammond.

Rain led to the Old Trafford match being abandoned, but a win - by five wickets - was finally secured by Australia at Headingley, where Bradman top-scored with 103.

England squared the series at the Oval, and the match belonged to Hutton, who batted for over 11 hours for his record-breaking 364.

The home side notched up a record 903 in the first innings and went on to win by an innings and a massive 579 runs.

All the news ahead of the 2002/03 Ashes tour

Tour in review

Test series

Clickable guides


Play the game
See also:

17 Oct 02 | Sports Talk
16 Oct 02 | Sports Talk
Links to more History stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more History stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales