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The Ashes away series is without doubt the toughest test of an English cricketer’s career. From the ageing team of the first post-war tour, landing at Fremantle after three weeks at sea in a Ministry of War transport carrier, to the ‘whitewash’ of 2006-7, when England fell like rabbits caught in Shane Warne’s headlights, Australian soil has played host to some of English cricket’s most gruelling nadirs – but also some of its most glorious and infamous highs.

In this unique oral history, drawn from dozens of original interviews with the surviving tourists, the Telegraph’s Huw Turbervill chronicles sixty years of England down under, recreating the greatest moments of every tour since the end of the Second World War through the words of the players who witnessed them and who made them happen.

Whether reliving, with Alec Bedser, England’s dismay at Don Bradman’s shock reprieve on 28 in the first Test at Brisbane in 1946 (he went on to 187); wincing with Frank ‘Typhoon’ Tyson as he describes the moment he was bowled to the ground, unconscious, at the second Test in Sydney in 1954 – only to exact a furious and victorious revenge; or rejoicing with John Emburey and Chris Broad as England confound their critics to prove they really can bat, bowl and field, during the first Test upset of 1986, The Toughest Tour is a constantly entertaining, often heartfelt and sometimes shamelessly partisan account of six decades and sixteen tours of cricket’s most compelling rivalry.

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