England travel to Australia this December in search of a first Ashes win since 2015 and they will be aiming to atone for their humiliation the last time the series was played Down Under, where they narrowly avoided a 5-0 whitewash.

Here we look ahead to the Ashes, giving you the lowdown on all you need to know about the upcoming series.

What are the Ashes?

The Ashes is a historic Test cricket series played every two or so years between England and Australia. The series is made up of five Test matches, each lasting for a maximum of five days.

The host of each Ashes series alternates between England and Australia. To win an Ashes series a team must win more of the five Tests than their opponents. In the event of a draw, the winner of the last series retains the Ashes.

The name ‘the Ashes’ comes from a newspaper report after England lost their first home Test match to Australia in 1882 – it read that the body of English cricket would “be cremated and the Ashes taken to Australia”.

Later that year England captain Ivo Bligh led his team to Australia, vowing to “reclaim the Ashes”, which they managed after winning two of the three Tests played. To commemorate the victory, he was awarded the famous small urn trophy, which remains a symbol of the Ashes to this day.

Where and when are the 2021-22 Ashes being played?

The 2021-22 Ashes will be held in Australia, beginning with the first Test on 8 December in Brisbane.

Play then continues with the second Test from Adelaide (16-20 December), the third Test is the traditional Boxing Day fixture from the Melbourne Cricket Ground (26-30 December), while the teams head to Sydney for the fourth Test (5-9 January).

The five-test series concludes with action from Perth beginning on January 14.

Who are the previous winners of the Ashes?

There have been 71 Ashes series, and Australia hold the slenderest of advantages with 33 wins to England’s 32. There have been six series that ended in a draw.

In terms of all Tests played, Australia hold a more significant advantage having won 136 to England’s 108, while 91 have been drawn.

Australia currently hold the Ashes after they won the 2017-18 series and retained the trophy following a draw in 2019.

In the last Ashes series, Australia began brightly by winning the first Test at Edgbaston by 251 runs. With the second Test heavily impacted by rain, England levelled the series with a win in the third Test, despite a first innings score of just 67, their lowest in an Ashes series since 1948. However, they couldn’t back it up in the fourth Test as Australia ran out comfortable winners.

That meant it was a case of damage limitation for England as they needed to win Test five to deny Australia a series victory. After some heroics with the ball from Jofra Archer, England bowled Australia out in the second innings for 263 to win by 135 runs, and at least ensured that while their opponents retained the Ashes, they didn’t have full bragging rights.

What are the 2021-22 Ashes squads?

England:

Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Australia:

Yet to be announced.

What are the odds for the 2021-22 Ashes?

Ahead of the series, Australia are a warm order at 1/4 to win the Ashes and retain the famous urn for a third series in succession.

Joe Root has yet to win the Ashes in two series as England captain and his side can be backed at 5/1 to change that statistic, while a draw is available at 15/2.

Check out all the latest cricket betting odds at William Hill