Cricket Fans Rejoice As 2015 Ashes Gets Under Way

8 July 2015

Scratch around online and you can still find some decent seats available for the 2015 Ashes series in England and Wales.

It may be hard to believe given that Ashes tickets have traditionally been cricket's hottest commodity, but perhaps a re-jigged calendar that saw back-to-back series played in 2013 has resulted in Ashes fatigue.

Whatever the reason, now is as good a chance as any to see if Australia can retain the famous urn having hammered the English 5-0 on home soil back in 2013-14.

 Lord's will host the Second Ashes Test. (Shutterstock)

For the second time – following a drawn Test in 2009 – the series will start in the Welsh capital Cardiff, with Sophia Gardens likely to be rocking for the opening ball of the series.

While Cardiff may seem like an unusual host for England, the English cricket team actually represents England and Wales – though you'd be hard-pressed to find a Welshman among the current crop.

As per tradition, the Second Test takes place at Lord's – perhaps cricket's most famous ground – with ticket allocations for the clash in London decided by ballot.

The potentially pivotal Third Test takes place in England's second city Birmingham, with the 25,000-capacity Edgbaston long regarded as one of the finest cricket grounds in the country.

Australian fans will hope the series is wrapped up after Edgbaston, although given the notoriously fickle English conditions – barely a series goes by without a day being affected by inclement weather – it's more likely the 2015 Ashes will mimic the now-legendary 2005 campaign.

Back then, England roared back from a rain-affected First Test defeat to beat Australia by just two runs in the Second Test. The Third Test was drawn, before England snatched a nail-biting three-wicket win in the Fouth Test at Trent Bridge. The Fifth and final Test was also drawn, leading England to claim a gripping 2-1 series win in what many critics have labelled one of the greatest series in the history of modern cricket.

Following Australia's 5-0 thumping of the English in their most recent showdown, cricket officials will hope for a reprise of the 2005 campaign – and with the Fourth Test once again taking place at the picturesque Trent Bridge in Nottingham, England will fancy its chances of taking things to a deciding Test.

Having hosted famous England wins in 2005, 2009 and 2013, the Fifth and final Test will once again take place at The Oval, with this famous London landmark gearing up to host what could be another climactic encounter.

Like its counterpart Lord's, tickets for The Oval showdown were allocated in a ballot, such is the clamour to see what many anticipate will be another fascinating series.

And with trips to the Welsh and English capitals intersected by a visit to the Midlands, travelling fans will have plenty of sightseeing to enjoy as they criss-cross the English countryside.

Coming off the back of the 129th edition of The Championships at Wimbledon and winding up barely a month before Rugby World Cup 2015 kicks off, the 2015 Ashes series marks yet another high point in the English sporting calendar.

And with two of cricket's oldest enemies set to do battle for one of the most coveted trophies in world sport, Australian fans will hope to have plenty to celebrate once the 2015 Ashes series gets under way.

First Test - Sophia Gardens (Cardiff) 8-12 July
Second Test - Lord's (London) 16-20 July
Third Test - Edgbaston (Birmingham) 29 July - 2 August
Fourth Test - Trent Bridge (Nottingham) 6-10 August
Fifth Test - The Oval (London) 20-24 August
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Mike Tuckerman

From Europe to Asia and many places in between, there's rarely a town or city I've not enjoyed exploring. When I'm not wandering the streets and discovering new destinations, you can usually find me hanging out with the locals at major sporting events.