England and Australia will do battle once more during the 2015 Ashes series, which sees the Baggy Greens trek across the pond in order to defend the famous urn.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced a full set of fixtures, locations and dates for next summer's series that will begin on July 8, 2015, in Cardiff.
Here is a full rundown, provided by Cricket Australia's official website:
|1||July 8-12||Sophia Gardens, Cardiff|
|2||July 16-20||Lord's, London|
|3||July 29-Aug. 2||Edgbaston, Birmingham|
|4||Aug. 6-10||Trent Bridge, Nottinghamshire|
|5||Aug. 20-24||The Oval, London|
Old Trafford is a notable absentee from this year's schedule, as tweeted by Sky Sports commentator Stuart Pyke:
Can't believe Old Trafford misses out on Ashes Test in 2015. Can't believe the North doesn't get Australia Test #ridiculous— Stuart Pyke (@stuartpykesport) May 12, 2014
Australia, who completed a 5-0 whitewash during the most recent series, haven't beaten the Three Lions on their own turf since 2001. Memories of dominance imposed by stars such as Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson must endure for an English team that played consistently poorly during the recent series that ended in January.
England have prevailed in all three series hosted since Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting and Co. humiliated them 4-1 13 years ago. Australia have suffered seven defeats in 15 Ashes encounters in the UK since then, winning just two and drawing six.
Next year's visitors will also complete a quartet of tour games throughout the series. Australia will then face Ireland in an ODI, before a Twenty20 and five ODIs versus England, who will be hoping to have crushed the opposition's newfound confidence by this point.
Michael Clarke led his team to victory last time out. He believes support remains the key to victory and has called upon Australia's fans to get involved when the team land on foreign soil, noted in the Cricket Australia release:
It was an unbelievable feeling to have so many people behind us. To capture some of that support and have as much green and gold at grounds across the UK next year when we are playing on foreign soil would be a major bonus.
We know there are plenty of Australians in the UK and for those that might be considering making the long journey, the efforts will certainly be appreciated by the team.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann has overseen Australia's ascension back to the No. 1 spot in the ICC Rankings, but he will be wary of an English side that is sure to usher in considerable change during next year's series. Kevin Pietersen, newly exiled from the English setup, is unlikely to feature despite remaining one of the nation's most potent batting weapons.
Stuart Broad, whose form will be key to England's chances, indicates the team are more than capable of moving away from Pietersen's shadow, just like they did when Flintoff called time on his international career in 2009.
"I remember when Freddie retired people said how England would cope but we had the most successful three years an England team has ever had. It can happen," said Broad, per Nick Hoult of The Telegraph.
Who will win the 2015 Ashes series?
This is certainly a series where younger names will want to make a lasting impression. It's perhaps unthinkable to consider Broad will be 28 by the time the first Test arrives, but players such as Joe Root can begin to assert their dominance for the future.
While home advantage is important, particularly as England were whooped last time out, Australia's dominance outlines them as the early favourites. English cricket is in transition right now, with major changes to be expected before 2015, suggesting Alastair Cook and Co. will need to quickly instil confidence if the tiny trophy is to be regained.