England eased to victory in the 2015 Ashes Test series after winning three of the first four matches, ensuring that they take an unassailable lead into the final Test of the series. The final clash is underway at the iconic Kia Oval, home of Surrey County Cricket Club. The Aussies were heavy favourites going into the tournament and were odds on with most major bookmakers to retain the Ashes after England endured a topsy-turvy few months prior to the series.
However, Trevor Bayliss took over as head coach and has been an inspiration since arriving at the helm back in May. England's big players have all produced match-winning performances throughout the series and pressure has been lifted off captain Alastair Cook. As good as the hosts were, Australia were extremely poor and they will be very disappointed to lose the Ashes after whitewashing England 5-0 in the last series. Michael Clarke was especially poor and the captain has announced his international retirement after the final Test of the series next week.
Worryingly for Australia, they have failed to win an Ashes series on English soil since 2001 - a run of four consecutive series defeats. While this isn't necessarily a problem in terms of personnel, defeats outside of Australia will continue to play a key role in psychological preparation for future cricket matches in other countries. For many years, the Wallabies were the dominant force in cricket. Nowadays, they have slipped down to second behind South Africa in the world rankings and will be nervously looking over their shoulders at the likes of Pakistan and India who aren't too far behind and have played fewer matches in 2015.
While the 2015 Ashes series was a complete disaster for Australia, all hope is not lost. They still possess a talented side but are clearly lacking confidence away from their native land. In fact, the Wallabies remain the best side in the world in one-day cricket and will fancy their chances of success at the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 tournament next spring. Australia will be one of the bookmakers favourites to succeed and you can keep up with all of the latest cricket odds and news ahead of the tournament's opening fixture on 11th March.
For England, meanwhile, they will enjoy their latest success but will know just how important preparation will be for next year's World Cup in India. While Twenty20 cricket isn't England's strongest form of the sport, they will be eager to make a huge statement of intent and could reach the latter stages of the event if they perform at their very best. With Twenty20 star Kevin Pietersen currently out of the team due to a difference of opinion, it will be interesting to see if Bayliss can convince him and Strauss to settle their problems ahead of the tournament. England impressed in the one-day international series with New Zealand and - although we are yet to see if Alastair Cook will stand down from his post as captain - will be full of confidence heading into next year's Twenty20 competition.