Cricket's most enduring rivalry is back, so you'll want to know how to watch Ashes 2021 and see if England can recover from their heavy First Test defeat and make a decent attempt at winning back the famous trophy.
The Ashes started on Wednesday, Dec. 8 and runs until Jan. 18.
► Australia vs England Second Test Day 1
4 a.m. GMT (Thurs) / 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT (Wed)
• U.S. — Watch on Willow via Sling (opens in new tab)
• U.K. — Watch on BT Sport (opens in new tab)
• Australia — Watch on Fox via Kayo Sports (opens in new tab)
• Watch anywhere — try ExpressVPN 100% risk free (opens in new tab)
On the evidence of the First Test, Joe Root's inconsistent side have their work cut out. It's hardly an exaggeration to say that Australia hammered them, bowling them out for just 147 in their first innings, then reaching 425 in reply.
England looked like being more competitive in the second innings, with Root and Dawid Malan putting on a 150-stand, but a typically English collapse left the Aussies needing just 20 runs to win — which they duly knocked off with more than a day to spare.
Root will take comfort in the fact that the Second Test could be very different. For a start, it's a day-night game, which should be more to their suiting in terms of the conditions. They could also have arguably their greatest ever bowler, James Anderson, back, and possibly Stuart Broad alongside him. Mark Wood has been left out to make way for one of the two veterans, but with Jack Leach left in the squad, it's not clear which other bowler in the 12-man squad will miss out.
Australia, meanwhile, will definitely be without one of their key pacemen, Josh Hazlewood.
England (from): Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wkt), Haseeb Hameed, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.
Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wkt), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jhye Richardson.
It's all still to play for, then — so you won't want to miss a second of the action. The good news is you can watch Ashes 2021 cricket live wherever you are, so read on for our full guide to how to watch the Ashes, and we've also got a separate guide to how to watch the Australia vs England Ashes Second Test live stream.
And if you're looking for more live sport, you might also be interested in our guides to how to watch Premier League 21/22 soccer and where to find the NFL live streams, NBA live streams and NHL live streams.
Ashes 2021 live streams
How to watch Ashes 2021 live streams from anywhere
It's natural that you might want to watch Ashes 2021 cricket coverage from your home country — after all, there's nothing like enjoying the action with commentators and pundits you already know. But what if you're not there when the game is on?
Look no further than a VPN, or virtual private network. A VPN makes it look as if you're surfing the web from your home country, rather than the one you're in. That means you can access the streaming services you already pay for, from anywhere on Earth. Or anywhere that has an internet connection, at least.
For instance, an Australian who's currently in the U.K. could watch Ashes 2021 live streams on Kayo Sports (opens in new tab), even though they're not in Australia.
They're totally legal, inexpensive and easy to use. We've tested lots of the best VPN services and our favorite right now is ExpressVPN (opens in new tab), thanks to its combination of superb speed, great customer service and excellent device support.
It also offers a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee, so you could check it out without having to sign up long term.
Speed, security and simplicity combine to make ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) our favorite VPN service. In our testing, we were impressed by its fast connection times and by its ability to access more than 3,000 services in 160 locations across 94 countries. A 30-day money-back guarantee is another bonus.
Using a VPN is incredibly simple.
1. Install the VPN of your choice. As we've said, ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) is our favorite.
2. Choose the location you wish to connect to in the VPN app. For instance if you're in the U.K. and want to view an Australian service, you'd select Australia from the list.
3. Sit back and enjoy the action. Head to Kayo Sports or another service and watch the match.
Exclusive Tom's Guide Discount: Save 49% on the 12-month ExpressVPN plan (opens in new tab)
How to watch Ashes 2021 live streams in the UK
You'll be able to watch every Ashes 2021 match live in the U.K. on, wait for it… BT Sport (opens in new tab).
Yes, Sky Sports' Ashes dominance is over, with BT taking over for the first time. You'll be able to catch every minute of the action on BT 1HD — so long as you don't mind staying up late. Timings in the U.K. vary from test to test, but the Second Test starts at 4 a.m. GMT on Thursday (Dec. 16), for instance.
Former England internationals including Sir Alastair Cook, Moeen Ali, Steve Harmison, Matt Prior and Mark Butcher, will all be part of the coverage, as will Australian greats Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Allan Border and Mark Waugh.
As well as being able to watch on live TV, subscribers will also be able to tune in via the BT Sport website (opens in new tab) or the BT Sport app for iOS (opens in new tab) or Android (opens in new tab).
Prices differ hugely depending on whether you already have BT TV and a BT broadband subscription. If you have both, you can add the Sports package for £15/month plus a £20 upfront fee, or go for the £40/month Big Sports package which also includes all of the Sky Sports channels.
Another option for non-BT subscribers is the BT Sport Monthly Pass (opens in new tab) (£25), which lets you watch via an app for a fixed time.
All sounds great, right? But if you're not in the U.K., you can still follow the games by using one of the best VPN services, such as ExpressVPN (opens in new tab).
How to watch Ashes 2021 live streams in Australia
Aussies are in the fortunate position of getting live streams of Ashes 2021 on several channels including Channel Seven (opens in new tab), Fox Cricket (opens in new tab) via Foxtel or the Foxtel Go app (opens in new tab), and Kayo Sports (opens in new tab).
Fox is available as part of many pay TV packages, but if you don't already have it then Kayo might be a better bet. It can be accessed via a dedicated mobile or tablet app, and also on Chromecast and Apple TV — plus, there's a 14-day free trial (opens in new tab) available if you want to try the service before committing to a subscription.
Once the trial is over, it costs a very reasonable $25 AUD per month for the basic package. A premium subscription is also available for $35 AUD per month, but this merely gives you the ability to access three simultaneous streams, rather than two.
Not in Australia right now? You can simply use a VPN to watch all the action on your Fox or Kayo account, as if you were back home.
How to watch Ashes 2021 live streams in the US
Despite the USA not being involved, cricket fans in the U.S. (and Canada) can enjoy full Ashes 2021 coverage.
The entire five-Test series will be shown on the excellently named Willow TV (opens in new tab), which is available via various cable packages including Dish, Fios, Spectrum, Xfinity and more.
If you've cut the cord and don't have cable, don't worry — because you can also watch Willow via Sling TV. You'll need a Sling subscription, which costs $35 for either the Orange or Blue package, and can then add Willow TV for $10/month or $60/year.
However, right now Sling is offering a 30-day trial for the bargain price of $10 (opens in new tab) and Willow TV is offering its first month for just $5 — so you could watch much of the Ashes 2021 for just $15.
But what if you already use those services but aren't in the U.S. right now? As we explained above, your best bet will be to use a VPN such as ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) so you can access them wherever you are.
Sling TV (opens in new tab) offers two packages, both of which cost $35 a month. Willow TV is available as an add-on to either. Sling is currently offering $25 dollars off the first month.
How to watch Ashes 2021 live streams in New Zealand
New Zealanders can see how England and Australia get on in the Ashes on Sky Sport (opens in new tab). This costs $57.98 NZD per month, or $31.99/month extra if you already have Sky but not Sport. Plus there's currently an offer which gives you your first month free when you sign up for a year.
Alternatively, you could go for the Sky Sport Now service, which gives you just the Sport channels but for a reduced cost of $19.99/week / $39.99/month or $399/year.
Not at home in New Zealand right now? You can still follow every game by using one of the best VPN services, such as ExpressVPN (opens in new tab).
How to watch Ashes 2021 live streams in India
If you're watching the Ashes in India, you'll need the Sony Sports Network (opens in new tab). The action will be shown in English on Sony Six and in Hindi on Sony Ten 3, with other languages available on Sony Ten 4.
Another option is the Sony Liv (opens in new tab) service, which costs Rs 999 for a year, Rs 699 for six months, or Rs 299 per month for the Premium version (which you'll need for the Ashes 2021.)
If you already subscribe to Sony Live, but are outside of India right now, you can simply choose one of the best VPN services such as ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) to live stream the action wherever you are are.
Ashes 2021 results
First Test: Australia beat England by nine wickets
England 147 (Cummins 5-38) & 297 (Root 89, Malan 82, Lyon 4-91)
Australia 425 (Head 152) & 20-1
Ashes 2021 schedule: Full fixtures and start times
When: Wednesday, December 8 - Sunday, December 12
Where: Gabba, Brisbane
Time: Play starts at 12 a.m. GMT (NB 11.30 p.m on Thurs 9 due to rain on day 2)
When: Thursday, December 16 - Monday, December 20
Where: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Time: Play starts at 4 a.m. GMT
When: Sunday, December 26 - Thursday, December 30
Where: MCG, Melbourne
Time: Play starts at 11.30 p.m. GMT on Saturday, December 25
When: Wednesday, January 5 - Sunday, January 9
Where: SCG, Sydney
Time: Play starts at 11.30 p.m. GMT on Tuesday, January 4
When: Friday, January 14 - Tuesday, January 18
Time: Play starts at 3 a.m. GMT
Who are the key Ashes 2021 players?
Smith has form — and plenty of it — against England, having made 11 centuries in 27 Ashes Tests, the third highest of any player. He didn't look in particularly good nick in the T20 World Cup, but Test cricket is much more his thing and he has an uncanny ability to frustrate England. He'll be the most-prized wicket for England's bowlers, and if they can tame him, they have a chance.
Unlike Smith, Warner's record against England is patchy — he averaged just 9.5 in the 2019 series, with Stuart Broad removing him seven times. But England beware: Warner was outstanding in the T20s, and there's a strong suspicion that on the pacier, bouncier tracks down under he'll be back to his barnstorming best.
Cummins would make this list even if he hadn't been helicoptered in as skipper to replace Tim Paine; after all, he's the world's top-ranked bowler. It remains to be seen whether he can manage the dual demands of leading the attack and leading his team, but if he does, England will be in trouble.
Lyon has an excellent record against England and picked up 20 wickets in the 2019 series. He's even more dangerous in home conditions, and will be eager to take a few scalps given that he's currently marooned on 399 wickets. On the flip side, there are several excellent players of spin in the England side — including Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler — and they could see Lyon as an easy scoring option.
It almost goes without saying that captain Joe Root is England's most important player, but we'll say it anyway. He's been in superb form this year, hitting an incredible 1,398 runs at an average of 69.90. However, he's never scored a ton in Australia and he'll clearly need to if England are to have any chance.
Stokes has been out of the side for mental health-related reasons, so his return gives England a massive boost for the Ashes. The big question is whether he can easily slot back into the side and back into the form he showed in 2019. The fact that he hit 42 off 56 balls and took two wickets in his sole warm-up game suggests he can.
With Jimmy Anderson sidelined for the First Test, Stuart Broad unlikely to play all five matches, Mark Wood always an injury concern and Ollie Robinson untested down under, England's bowling attack will rely a lot on Chris Woakes. He's been immense in domestic Tests and was also outstanding in the T20 World Cup, but can he do it in Australia?
Leach is a long way from being England's best player, but they'll need someone to hold down an end, and he's more likely than Dom Bess to offer the control they'll need. Australia will surely go after him, and if Warner is well set when Leach comes into the attack, carnage could ensue. How Leach copes could go a long way to determining who wins this series.
Ashes 2021 squads
Ashes 2021 squads: Australia
- David Warner
- Marcus Harris
- Marnus Labuschagne
- Steve Smith
- Travis Head
- Usman Khawaja
- Cameron Green
- Pat Cummins (captain)
- Alex Carey (wicketkeeper)
- Mitchell Starc
- Josh Hazlewood
- Nathan Lyon
- Jhye Richardson
- Michael Neser
- Mitchell Swepson
Ashes 2021 squads: England
- Joe Root (captain)
- James Anderson
- Jonny Bairstow
- Dom Bess
- Stuart Broad
- Rory Burns
- Jos Buttler
- Zak Crawley
- Haseeb Hameed
- Dan Lawrence
- Jack Leach
- Dawid Malan
- Craig Overton
- Ollie Pope
- Ollie Robinson
- Ben Stokes
- Chris Woakes
- Mark Wood