Ali vs Frazier. Harding vs Kerrigan. Vader vs Kenobi. The NBN vs the entire country of Australia. These are the great rivalries of our histories. In the world of cricket, there’s no greater rivalry than that of England vs Australia in the five match Test extravaganza known as ‘The Ashes’.
After taking the first three tests and drawing the fourth, Australia reclaimed the Ashes, but the series has one Test left. The fifth and final test ends today, with Australia looking to seal a victory and take the Ashes back 4-0. Here’s how you can watch the action - on TV or live, online and free!
Yes, it's that time of the bi-year again, when Australia and England's best cricketers face off to claim an urn of charred cricket bail ash no bigger than a Coke can. It's one of the biggest events on the Australian sporting calendar and a fixture of the summer, so without further ado - here's how you can join in on the fun.
What Is The Ashes?
The Ashes is a five match Test cricket series played in both England and Australia, with the home team alternating between the two nations every couple of years. You win the Ashes trophy - a tiny 15cm tall urn - by winning the five game series. The winner then holds the Ashes and can retain them simply by drawing the five game series the next time it is played. Before this series took place, England held the Ashes as they won on their home turf back in 2015.
However, Australia took an unassailable 3-0 lead after the first three tests this year, successfully reclaiming the Ashes.
At present, a nice 69 series have been played between the two nations, with 32 wins a piece and five drawn series.
Australia currently has a 3-0 lead in the 2017-18 series, taking the first three tests in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The fourth test, in Melbourne, was a draw.
Where Are The Ashes Test Matches Played?
This year it’s Australia’s turn as host and the first match was be played at the Gabba in Brisbane Queensland. The second test was at Adelaide Oval in South Australia. The third test took place at the WACA in Western Australia. The Boxing Day Test took place at the MCG in Melbourne, Victoria.
The fifth and final test match will be played at the SCG from January 4.
When Is The Ashes 2017?
The fifth Test begins today, January 4 at 10:30am AEDT. The match is played in Sydney, so the action kicks off pretty early over in the West.
Test matches can last for up to five days, so you’ll need to tune in from 10:30am AEDT every day if you’re trying to catch all the bat-and-ball action you can.
Here’s that time for the fifth Test in all Australian capital cities:
- Perth, WA: 7:30am
- Darwin, NT: 9am
- Brisbane, QLD: 9:30am
- Adelaide, SA: 10am
- Sydney, NSW: 10:30am
- Canberra, ACT: 10:30am
- Melbourne, VIC: 10:30am
- Hobart, TAS: 10:30am
Where Can I Watch The Ashes 2017?
Australians are no doubt familiar that summer cricket matches are the chief domain of Channel Nine, who manage to show plenty of the game in between KFC ads. If you want to catch the game on free to air TV, then you will need to tune into Channel 9 from 1:30pm AEDT today. Unfortunately, 9Now does not allow you to stream the Ashes through their dedicated app so you'll have to find alternate means if you're away from a TV and want to stream.
You could also invest in a VPN and set it to a location in the UK that broadcasts the game. This should grant you access to a live streaming service originating in England - but I understand that it'd be grating for Aussie fans to listen to the Poms applaud their squad all afternoon. I haven't personally tested this theory out yet, but it appears that BT Sport have the rights to the Ashes in the UK. Their online live streaming service is something you need to sign up for so I wouldn't recommend this option for anyone Down Under - though it does exist. Note that a VPN does cost money and is a little difficult to fully understand, so head to our handy guide to work out which VPN works best for you. Outside of watching the Ashes, a great VPN is a must-have these days anyway.
You could also sign up for a subscription to Cricket.com.au but this will set you back $29.99 a year – a pretty reasonable price if you've exhausted all your options - and it's great if you’re passionate about your fours and sixes because it gives you access to every Big Bash League T20 match over the summer.
On the other hand, if a yearly pass isn’t your thing, then you can always grab a 24 hour pass for $5.99 but that seems exorbitant, considering streaming just five days will set you back the full cost of a year. The option is there though.
If you’re an Optus customer and are eligible for Optus sport, you’re covered for the entire summer of cricket already, you’ll just need to activate your subscription with cricket.com.au
According to one reader, the RedBox TV Android Package Kit (APK) may give some Android users the stream they're after. The APK basically works like an executable file, installing the 'app' onto your Android device. Then it gives you access to over 1000 live TV channels from around the world. We haven't tried this method on Lifehacker yet - it just seems a little dodgy - but their Facebook page is rife with praise.
My last recommendation is to always keep one eye firmly planted on the Reddit cricket community. They have a fantastic wiki full of useful information and ways to stream for those trying to watch the Ashes outside of the usual sources posted above. There's a vibrant, global community on Reddit that tend to help each other out with these sorts of things so no matter where you're coming from, you should be able to find what you're after.