The Summer Of 2023? A Double Ashes Comeback Would Exceed Heights Of 2005

We could be in for a very special summer
08:00, 16 Jul 2023

Good morning. It’s the weekend. And you’re about to step into a world of relentless positivity. Forgive me if I am overzealous, or a little fantastical, but something special is happening. 

Cast your mind back to the summer of 2005. England, spearheaded by the insatiable Freddie Flintoff, came from 1-0 down to win the Ashes in spectacular style, as the grey skies in the Fifth Test finalised their 2-1 series victory.

There were moments of magic during that series. Steve Harmison dismissing Michael Kasprowicz to win the Second Test by just two runs, Flintoff’s celebration after beating Ricky Ponting and Kevin Pieterson’s ton at the Oval. It was a summer for the country to celebrate and deeply significant, after all, the men hadn’t won an Ashes series since 1987. That ridiculous 18-year wait which saw Australia win eight on the bounce and the country finally celebrated getting one over on their old rivals. 


There’s no doubt it was momentous. But England could be in for an even more spectacular summer this time around. The men were 2-0 down against Australia, but after a third thrilling Test match, they are now back in the series. There’s already been enough highlights to fill any Ashes VHS and enough England errors to make you cry yourself to sleep at night. But despite all of that, and Brendon McCullum’s wild form of cricket, England are still in contention to win the series. 

The Third Test showed that they have what it takes to beat the Aussies. Nine times out of 10 they win the First Test as well - only a freak batting display from Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins saw the visitors over the line from an unlikely position. Talking of Lyon, the spin-bowler’s summer-ending injury has tilted the balance of the series in England’s favour. As we saw at Lord’s, Australia still have a talented bowling attack capable of winning a match, but the positivity and confidence England can take from that Headingley win should carry them in good stead as they head to Old Trafford. 

England have never come from 2-0 to win an Ashes series. Australia have only done it once, and that required 651 runs from a certain Don Bradman in 1936-37. Given it’s also been eight years since they last won the Ashes, coming from 2-0 to do so would go down as the men’s most famous victory. With Ben Stokes batting as he is, anything is possible for Bazball, and a win in Manchester would get the pulses racing. 


But this summer isn’t just about the men. England’s women are also staging their own comeback as they look to win their first Ashes series since 2014. Australia have been utterly dominant over the past few years, and after they won both the five-day Test match (worth four points) and the first T20 (worth two points), it looked like more of the same. At 6-0 down, England couldn’t afford to lose again. And led by captain Heather Knight, they haven’t.

In the three matches since, two T20 clashes and one ODI, England have been superb. Their comeback began with a win by just three runs at The Oval as Danni Wyatt hit an impressive 76, while in the shortened third T20, they chased down the total needed with four balls to spare. 

England’s victory by two wickets in the first ODI has sparked hope that the comeback, and victory, is well and truly on. For many, this England side were T20 specialists and Australia would dominate as the format got longer, but despite losing the toss, the home side pulled off their highest run chase in ODI history. From 6-0, now the score for the series is level. With two ODIs left to play, worth two points each, England know they have to win both to wrestle back the Ashes from Aussie hands. A series draw simply isn’t good enough. 

But with Nat Sciver-Brunt and Sophie Ecclestone in top form, anything is possible. England could be about to pull off not one, but two epic Ashes comebacks. If they do it, 2023 will become the most memorable cricket summer of the lot. 

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