Nothing quite comes close to the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
It is the pinnacle of the cricketing calendar. And not just for the 100,000 Australians baying for blood.
Cricketing badgers on the other side of the world will happily pop open another bottle as Christmas Day winds down, curl up by the fire and settle down to the sights and sounds of the MCG.
England’s players celebrate after clinching the 2010-11 Ashes series down under
Graeme Swann leads the celebrations with the ‘Sprinkler’ dance move at the MCG
Ten years ago these night owls were in for a special treat with the 2010-11 Ashes on a knife edge after Australia roared back in Perth to bring the series level.
England won the toss, elected to field, and the rest is history.
Ricky Ponting’s men collapsed to a humiliating 98 all out, and the MCG emptied as Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook led England to 157 without loss at the end of the day.
England’s fans serenade Mitchell Johnson as England pile on the runs in the fifth Test
Jimmy Anderson was one of England’s heroes as Australia were bowled out for 98 in 2010
They went on to win by an innings and 157 runs, retaining the urn in the process.
A week later they did it again in Sydney, claiming a first series win Down Under in 24 years.
But what has become of that side, who eight months later went on to become No 1 in the world? Sportsmail take a look…
England’s players celebrate after taking the final Australian wicket in the fifth Test
Alastair Cook, Graeme Swann and Jimmy Anderson with the urn in the SCG dressing room
Strauss went down as one of England’s greatest ever captains, leading the Test side to No 1 in the world rankings just seven months after they retained the urn in 2011.
His retirement a year later was overshadowed by the damaging fallout with star man Kevin Pietersen, but Strauss went on to prove his leadership qualities extended off the field.
He became the ECB’s director of cricket at its lowest ebb in 2015, and immediately set about overhauling England’s limited overs set-up.
After finishing as runners up in the 2016 Twenty20 World Cup, they went one better in the 50-over format on home soil in 2019 in memorable fashion.
But Strauss had relinquished his position by that point to care for his wife as she underwent treatment for lung cancer. Since her passing in December 2018, he set up the Ruth Strauss Foundation to provide emotional support for families to prepare for the death of a parent from cancer and raise awareness of the need for more research in the fight against non-smoking lung cancers.
Strauss, knighted last year, has helped set up an annual #RedForRuth Test match in the English summer, which raises money for the campaign, while he also remains an occasional fixture in the Sky Sports commentary box.
England’s opening partners, Andrew Strauss (left) and Alastair Cook, have both been knighted
England’s top scorer of that victorious Ashes series with an astonishing 766 runs, including three centuries. Cook went on to enjoy a stellar career.
He succeeded Strauss as captain in 2012, winning in India and beating Australia at home before the disastrous whitewash defeat in 2013-14.
Redemption arrived 20 months later as England reclaimed the urn on home soil in 2015. Cook resigned the captaincy in 2017 and retired a year later, scoring an emotional century – his 33rd in Tests – in his final match at The Oval.
He retired as England’s leading Test scorer and the fifth highest in history.
Still playing for Essex, who he has helped to back-to-back Championship titles, Cook, knighted in 2017, is also carving out a career in the commentary box with Test Match Special, and remains devoted to his farm work out of season.
Ten years after his 24 wickets propelled England to Ashes glory, Anderson remains the leader of England’s attack.
His hair may now be flecked with the odd dash of grey, but his mastery of the red ball knows no limits, and in August he took his 600th Test wicket for England – the first fast bowler ever to do so. Only Anil Kumble, Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan lie ahead of him in the all-time rankings.
Jimmy Anderson celebrates after claiming his 600th Test wicket for England in August
Even at 38 he is still hungry for more, and next year’s Ashes looks likely to be his swansong tour following the debacles of 2013-14 and 2017-18.
Anderson’s post-playing days look set to be played out in the media. He has married occasional work with the TMS commentary team with the BBC’s Tailenders podcast, alongside Radio One DJ Greg James and former Maccabees guitarist Felix White, which has gone on to achieve cult status within cricketing circles.
A move into media work wasn’t immediately obvious from his cameo appearances in Swanny’s Ashes Video Diaries. His monosyllabic deadpan delivery remains, but there are few that can match his expertise for swing bowling.
Ian Bell played his final first class game for Warwickshire in September this year
It proved to be a coming-of-age series for the classy Bell, whose 12th Test ton – and first against Australia – came in the crushing victory in Sydney.
It was the first of five centuries during his annus mirabilis of 2011, before his three hundreds underpinned another Ashes victory in 2013.
Bell was dropped by England two years later, shortly after he became part of a select group to have won five Ashes series for England. Bell’s cover drive became a common sight on the county circuit as he continued to make hay for Warwickshire before finally calling it a day in September.
He was the last of England’s legendary 2005 Ashes side to retire, but his eye-catching stroke play still endures, with Ollie Pope the latest to emerge under ‘The Next Ian Bell’ mantle.
Bell returned to the England set-up earlier this year as a batting coach at the Under 19 World Cup, and it’s hard to see him staying away from the game for too long.
Tim Bresnan is still going strong at 35 after joining Warwickshire from Yorkshire
A tireless workhorse and the unlikeliest member of England’s terrific bowling attack. Bresnan was drafted in for the fourth Test in Melbourne, replacing the erratic Steven Finn.
The Yorkshireman provided immediate control and went on to take 11 wickets in the final two Tests – including the wicket of Ben Hilfenhaus which secured England’s retaining of the urn at the MCG.
Bresnan was a prominent member of the England set-up across all three formats, but earned his final Test cap in the debacle of the 2013-14 whitewash and his final ODI appearance came in a washout against Ireland in 2015, the day before coach Peter Moores was sacked.
He was a major casualty of the new direction of English cricket under Strauss and Trevor Bayliss, returning to the county circuit with Yorkshire.
The 19-year association with his hometown county came to an end this year as he moved to Warwickshire in search of regular playing time, and at 35 he is still going strong.
Jimmy Anderson (right) and Stuart Broad are still leading England’s bowling attack 10 years on
A torn stomach muscle ended Broad’s Ashes after just two Tests, where his highlight was being the victim of Peter Siddle’s birthday hat-trick at The Gabba.
He was back in 2013 as public enemy No 1 after infuriating the Australians for refusing to walk despite clearly edging Ashton Agar to first slip just months earlier.
Broad has thrived on his rivalry with Australia, and it fuels him to keep going for next winter’s trip down under. Still going alongside his close pal, Anderson, Broad is only improving with age, despite turning 34 this year.
He was man of the series against Pakistan in the summer as he claimed his 500th Test wicket, and his incredible form with the ball earned him a nomination for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.
Talk of his demise at the start of the summer was greatly exaggerated. He’s set to out last his partner in crime, Anderson, and don’t bet against him eventually joining him in the 600 club, and maybe even surpassing him.
A future in the media awaits, if his performance in front of the camera when he was dropped for the first Test against West Indies in the summer is anything to go by, and he certainly dresses to impress during his appearances in the Sky Sports commentary box.
Paul Collingwood retired in 2018 and has since become assistant to coach Chris Silverwood
The 2010-11 Ashes was the international swansong for Paul Collingwood MBE (let’s not forget the 17 runs in the fifth Ashes Test in 2005 that earned him recognition from the Queen).
His playing days continued with Durham until 2018, when he finally called it a day at the ripe old age of 42.
Collingwood has since become ingrained in the England backroom set-up, and is now assistant to Chris Silverwood having first been drafted in as a fielding coach.
The Covid pandemic granted Collingwood the chance to deputise for Silverwood and take temporary charge of the ODI side against Ireland in July.
With Collingwood firmly entrenched in the coaching staff, could he make the jump to being Silverwood’s successor in the future? If the tutorials on his coaching Instagram page are anything to go by then he’s certainly in it for the long haul.
Backup wicket keeper Steven Davies has not played for his country since 2011
The only player of England’s Ashes-winning squad that never won a Test cap. Selected as back up to Matt Prior, Davies never got a look in behind the first-choice’s exemplary consistency with bat and gloves.
Davies played the last of his eight ODIs for England in 2011, just weeks before he became the first male international cricketer to come out as gay.
Davies received support from senior figures throughout the game when he revealed his sexuality, and admitted he was bowled over by the reaction of his team-mates.
He said at the time: ‘The difference is huge. I am so much happier. I told Andy Flower first. It was a tough thing for me to do, to tell him face-to-face, but I had to do it. He supported me 100 per cent, [both] him and Andrew Strauss. It was the right thing to do as I felt I couldn’t live like this anymore.
‘I didn’t enjoy going on tour too much because of the secret, and the Ashes was going to be a three-and-a-half-month tour. That’s a long time and I would have really struggled to finish it. My sexuality is an essential part of who I am, so I wanted the boys to know.’
Davies, 34, left Surrey in 2016 and is now a regular for Somerset.
Steven Finn (left) still plays for Middlesex and has enjoyed stints in the commentary box
Finn was the golden boy of English cricket when he debuted against Bangladesh in 2010 at the age of just 20.
Despite being the leading wicket taker in the series, Finn was dropped for his expensive economy rate after three Tests, making way for the miserly Bresnan.
It marked the start of a chequered international career for the paceman, who was once branded ‘not selectable’ by Ashley Giles.
The last of his 36 Test appearances, which yielded 125 wickets at an average a shade over 30, came in the 2016 tour of Bangladesh.
The Watford Wall, so named after a resilient half-century as nightwatchman in New Zealand in 2013, is still taking wickets across the formats for Middlesex but an England recall appears remote. He is now carving a second career for himself as a summariser on TMS.
Finn’s greatest legacy, which no doubt hampered his development, came about for his knack of knocking the non-striker’s stumps with his knee during his delivery, sometimes dislodging a bail.
After complaints from South Africa in 2012 It brought about the introduction of a new law to declare a delivery a no ball, rather than a dead ball, if the non-striker’s wicket is broken in the act of delivery.
Eoin Morgan is England’s World Cup winning captain and gunning for T20 glory in 2021
Few have done more to shape the direction of English cricket in the past decade than England’s World Cup-winning captain.
Morgan was already an established one-day player by the 2010-11 Ashes, and with six Test caps under his belt was viewed as one for the future in the long form of the game.
His chance in the middle order came when Collingwood announced his retirement, but he struggled to curb his attacking instincts, making the last of his 16 Test appearances in 2012.
Inheriting the one-day captaincy from Cook in 2015, Morgan has transformed England’s short game from laughing stock to the envy of world cricket.
Once they trailed behind the world, now they are packed with trail blazers and he will achieve true greatness if England can add T20 success to their 50-over title next year.
Spin bowling legend Monty Panesar is the face of Twitter’s ‘first political sports channel’
Shane Warne famously said: ‘Monty Panesar hasn’t played 33 Tests, he has played one Test, 33 times.’
Panesar, once the darling of English cricket, was firmly in Swann’s shadow by 2010, reduced to being the second spinner, only called upon on spin-friendly surfaces, often in the sub continent. He did not play in this series, and the last of his 50 caps came in a humiliating defeat at the MCG in 2013.
A slew of personal problems – divorce, alcoholism, inappropriate behaviour (including urinating on a bouncer outside a nightclub in Brighton) and anxiety took their toll. Though he never officially retired, and earlier this year insisted he has ‘unfinished business with cricket’, he has been without a county since leaving Northamptonshire in 2016.
In the meantime Monty has carved out a new niche for himself, fronting Twitter’s ‘first political sports channel’ – The Monty Channel – where he hones his broadcasting credentials in irreverent style to talk about societal issues from Brexit to Indian farming, random facts and lockdown exercises. And he has aspirations to run for London mayor.
Unfortunately for Monty, his performance on Mastermind just last year may prove to live longer in the memory.
John Humphrys: In an 1819 poem, what season of the year does Keats describe as ‘a season of mist and mellow fruitfulness’?
Monty: Oliver Twist.
Kevin Pietersen has become a leading animal rights activist following his controversial career
The superstar of English cricket had already courted controversy after his sacking as England captain less than two years before the 2010-11 Ashes.
It was just a taste of what was to come as Pietersen was ruthlessly discarded despite top scoring in the shambolic 2013-14 series as his relationship with team-mates and management reached the point of no return.
Freed from his England obligations, KP became the jetsetting franchise player he had always threatened to be, lighting up the IPL, the Caribbean Premier League and the Big Bash.
He finally retired in 2018, but remains involved in the game in the commentary box where his excitable persona matches his bombastic stroke play.
But it is in the field of animal welfare that Pietersen has devoted much of his time in recent years. He has become a prominent and vocal advocate for the welfare and conservation of endangered animals in his native South Africa, particularly the rhino.
He opened Umganu Lodge, a luxury resort at the edge of Kruger National Park and established the charity Saving Our Rhinos Africa and India (SORAI).
Former fast bowler Ajmal Shahzad is head coach of the Marylebone Cricket Club at Lords
England’s packed pace options restricted the former Yorkshire fast bowler to just a single Test appearance, against Bangladesh in 2010.
He fared better in ODI cricket, where he won 11 caps, including two during the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
Shahzad finished his playing career with spells at Nottinghamshire, Sussex and Leicestershire before he was forced to hang up his boots in 2017 and move into coaching.
Last year, at just 33, he was hired as head coach of the MCC at Lord’s, leading their renowned Young Cricketers programme and working in the MCC Academy.
The former Yorkshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Sussex and Leicestershire bowler will begin the position immediately and lead the renowned MCC Young Cricketers programme, as well as providing elite coaching in the MCC Cricket Academy, where his pupils have included Arjun Tendulkar, son of one Sachin Tendulkar.
Former wicket keeper Matt Prior is co-owner and chief executive of One Pro Cycling
Prior was at the peak of his powers 10 years ago, but it was a sorry story when England toured just three years later.
Struggling with form and injury, Prior was dropped after the third Test and played his final match for England the following summer. He retired in 2015 due to a recurring achilles tendon injury.
He swiftly moved from cricket to cycling. He became the co-owner and chief executive of One Pro Cycling, with the team racing at UCI Continental level before they became the first British team to progress to Professional Continental level a year later.
A lack of funds meant they were unable to put forward a team in 2019. But Prior remains committed to the sport, and this year launched One Pro Sports Events.
Prior has taken tentative steps into the commentary box and was part of talkSPORT’s team for England’s tour of South Africa 12 months ago, where he appeared to put his long-running feud with former team-mate Pietersen to bed.
Former spinner Graeme Swann has moved into the media and the commentary box
Swann’s control was vital as England romped past Australia. His haul of 255 Test wickets marks him as one of his country’s finest ever spin bowlers, but he was accused of jumping ship as a recurring elbow injury forced him to retire with England 3-0 down in 2013-14.
The joker of the pack, the star of Swanny’s video diaries throughout the tour and the instigator of the infamous sprinkler celebration on the MCG pitch, it’s no surprise that he has since pursued a career in the public eye. But to varying success.
Just two months after his retirement he saddled into the commentary box to join the BBC’s TMS team, but his jokey style alienated much of the programme’s core audience. He was recently part of Indian broadcasters Star Sports’ coverage of the IPL, and during a stint in Australia covering the Big Bash he was branded a ‘waste of money’ by former rival David Warner.
In 2018 he became the latest former cricketer to appear on Strictly Come Dancing.
He recently hit the headlines when he declared it would be a ‘crying shame’ should his pal Jimmy Anderson coach England’s women or Lancashire seconds.
‘Before anyone cries foul, I’m not having a go at the England women’s team or the Lancashire second team,’ the former spinner told Analyst Inside Cricket podcast.
‘You know my point… he should go straight in as head coach or head bowling coach for England.’
Chris Tremlett has undergone an incredible transformation into a bodybuilder
Tremlett was a surprise inclusion in 2010, brought in from the international wilderness having played just three Test matches in 2007.
His selection proved inspired on the bouncy, fast Australian pitches. He replaced the injured Stuart Broad in Perth and took eight wickets. Another nine followed in the final two Tests, including the series-clinching wicket in Sydney.
Persistent back and knee problems reduced the 6ft 8in paceman, capable of delivering 90mph howitzers, to just 12 Test caps, the last of which came during the 2013-14 Ashes whitewash.
He was forced to retire in 2015 before undergoing a dramatic transformation after taking up weight lifting.
‘I’m four stone bigger now than I was then,’ Tremlett told Sportsmail last month. ‘When I was playing cricket I was 105 kilos but I’m probably between 125-130 now. It is a bit of a Bryson Dechambeau physique change. Some people retire and then let themselves go but this is something I enjoy. It’s my hobby.’
Tremlett has no intention of getting on a stage to show off his gains, he is currently enjoying a second career as a property consultant, but he certainly wouldn’t look out of place in the world’s strongest man showpiece.
Jonathan Trott worked in the backroom staff as a batting coach with England last summer
Trott was England’s batting lynchpin at No 3 contributing two unbeaten centuries in the historic series victory.
But the break up of England’s great side down under in 2013 began as Trott flew home after the first Test due to a stress related illness.
He returned with little success in the West Indies in 2015 before finally calling it a day in international cricket.
Trott continued at Warwickshire for a further three years before finally retiring in 2018.
He became the latest Ashes hero to join the backroom staff of the current side in August as he was appointed England’s batting coach for the visit of Pakistan.
Whether his mental health will allow him to play a long-term role in the England set up remains to be seen, but it appears certain that a career in coaching beckons.
Panesar, Bresnan, Bell, Trott, Strauss, Cook and Finn, pictured at the world premiere of The Edge in 2019 – a film about the England team that went to No 1 in the world in 2011
First Test, Brisbane
Nov 25-29, 2010: Match Drawn
Second Test, Adelaide
Dec 3-7, 2010: Eng won by innings & 71 runs
Third Test, Perth
Dec 16-20, 2010: Aus won by 267 runs
Fourth Test, Melbourne
Dec 26-30: Eng won by innings & 157 runs
Fifth Test, Sydney
Jan 3-7, 2011: Eng won by innings & 83 runs