Here's how to watch The Ashes live, online and free

Dawid Malan of England hits out during the first Ashes 2017 cricket test match against Australia. Photo: Philip Brown/Getty Images

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’.

The Ashes kick off today in Brisbane and here’s how you can watch – 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 ball 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 are 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. At present, England hold the Ashes as they won on their home turf back in 2015.

At present, a nice 69 series have been played between the two nations, with 32 wins a piece and 5 drawn series.

Where are The Ashes test matches played?

This year it’s Australia’s turn as host and the first match will be played at the Gabba in Brisbane Queensland. The following four test matches will be played at Adelaide Oval, the WACA, the MCG and the SCG and will run over the summer and into 2018.

When is The Ashes 2017?

The first Test begins today, November 23 at 11am AEDT. Test matches can last for up to five days, so you’ll need to tune in from 11am AEDT every day if you’re trying to catch all the bat-and-ball action you can.

Here’s that time for the first Test in all Australian capital cities:

Perth, WA: 8:00am
Darwin, NT: 9:30am
Brisbane, QLD: 10am
Adelaide, SA: 10:30am
Sydney, NSW: 11am
Canberra, ACT: 11am
Melbourne, VIC: 11am
Hobart, TAS: 11am

The second Test will be played from December 2 at Adelaide Oval

The third Test begins on December 14, at the WACA in Perth

The fourth Test is the traditional Boxing Day test match, taking place on December 26 at the MCG

The fifth and final Test is played at Sydney’s SCG and begins on January 4, 2018

We will update this post with local times for the second through fifth Test as they get closer.

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 11am AEDT today.

Update: We originally reported that 9Now would have the broadcast online but it appears this is incorrect. Unfortunately, 9Now is not carrying the Ashes due to broadcast rights, which seems a bit backwards to me but that’s the way these things work with the internet and advertising and feeling like we’re stuck in the 90’s. For a reliable stream, I would recommend visiting the Reddit community listed below.

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 existed. 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.

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.

This article first appeared at Lifehacker Australia. See the original here.

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