The Ashes have a special significance in the world of cricket. The clash between Australia and England is followed with great interest all over the world wherever cricket is played. It is also the oldest bilateral series in the world of cricket. Australia and England have been traditional rivals ever since the first Test match was played in 1877 between the two nations.The Ashes this time is played down under and the English team arrived a month earlier to get acclimatised and plan their strategy for this important series. BBC has reported that all the preparations have come to nought and Australia are just a stone's throw away from a comprehensive win.

England bat

England came to Australia under a new captain, Joe Root, and with a strong batting line-up was expected to give Australian Captain Steve Smith and his boys a hard time. The first test was played at Brisbane. England won the toss and batted first.The English team did not make the most of winning the toss and managed only 302. This was not a match-winning score but England had some hope when they captured 4 wickets. Smith aided by the tail played a Stirling knock of 141 not out and Australia went slightly ahead on the second day. They took a lead of 26 which gave them a psychological boost.

The Aussies had a small lead and if England had applied themselves better they could have set the Aussies a daunting task.

Since Australia was to bat last and the likelihood of the wicket crumbling on the fifth day, England could have been in the driver's seat.

Australia go one up

England folded for 195 in the second innings. Skipper Root stood firm with 51 and Bairstow made 42 but the other did not add too much and Australia who had a first innings lead of 26, were left with only 170 to win.

The Aussie openers Dave Warner and Bancroft have already hit of 114 for no loss towards the end of the days play. Barring a miracle the Aussies should be one up when play commences tomorrow.

The crucial moment in the test was the bowling of the Australian spinner Nathan Lyon. He bowled extremely well in the style of the Indian classical spinner Bishen Singh Bedi.

England has only themselves to blame for this defeat. The batsmen failed to apply themselves and it appears that their coming to Australia a month ahead has had no effect.

There are still four test matches to be played and if the main English batsmen can get the measure of the Australian attack, they could still bounce back. As things stand England are on the back foot and it will require a herculean effort to come back in the series.