Australia vs England fixtures, start times in the UK and TV channel for Test series

The 2021-22 Ashes series has started in depressing fashion for England, as they succumbed to an early defeat in the first Test at Brisbane’s “Gabbatoir”.  The second could be heading the same way. Australia won the first by nine wickets, condemning England to a seventh loss in ten Tests and tenth in 11 in Australia. The first-Test win also preserved Australia’s unbeaten run in Brisbane against England since 1986-87 and restored the Gabba’s reputation as a bloody arena for touring teams. 

Joe Root flew to Adelaide for the second Test with his lifetime ambition of becoming an Ashes-winning England captain on the line, knowing, too, that only Len Hutton has managed to lead an England team to victory in Australia after losing in Brisbane. But Australia scored a huge first-innings score to put Root and co on the back foot.

Australia hold the Ashes, having won them back by winning the 2017-18 series 4-0 and retaining them with the 2-2 draw in England during the summer of 2019, meaning a drawn series is not enough for Root’s side. England must win despite having done so in only four of 13 series in Australia in the past 50 years.

Indeed, on three of the last four tours they failed to win a single Test match, the 3-1 triumph under Andrew Strauss being preceded by a 5-0 whitewash under Andrew Flintoff and succeeded by another 5-0 during Alastair Cook’s captaincy and Joe Root’s 4-0 defeat four years ago. 

As per the tradition of the last 40 years for tours of Australia, there should have been five Test matches held in the usual places, the five largest cities in the five largest states: Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. However, due to stringent border controls in Western Australia, it was announced that the fifth Test would not be played in Perth. It was finally announced on Dec 10 that the fifth Test will be a day/nighter, ‘pink ball’ match, held in Hobart, Tasmania. 

Ashes fixtures and full schedule

What time is each Test match?

Play at the second Test, a pink-ball day-nighter at the Adelaide Oval, starts at the brutal time of 4am for a UK audience though it does have the benefit of having a long evening session which is a perfect breakfast accompaniment for the lily-livered normal risers who don’t watch through the night.

The third and fourth Tests at the MCG and SCG begin at 11.30pm GMT. NB. This means that in the UK they actually commence on the day before they do in Australia – ie at 11.30pm on Christmas Day and Jan 4. 

Which TV channel is it on? How can I watch in the UK?

Cricket Australia sells its overseas broadcasting rights in four-year chunks and cannily schedules the auction, when broadcasters will be most eager, for the months preceding an Ashes series. Sky, having covered every series from 1990-91 to 2013-14, had been keen to win them back from BT Sport, which hosted coverage of the last tour four years ago.

But BT Sport won the auction and will be showing the series using the Australian host broadcaster’s regular commentary team of Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Mark Waugh, Allan Border, Mike Hussey, Brett Lee, Mel Jones, Andrew Symonds, Kerry O’Keeffe and the former England bowler and host of the BBC’s TV coverage, Isa Guha. 

You will be able to stream the cricket on the BT Sport app, watch on their TV channels and online. Telegraph Sport will also be bringing you live coverage of every over throughout the series.

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