1912 - Selection meeting turns nasty
Selectors are prone to being criticised by the press and supporters, but they would not expect to come under attack, literally, from a fellow selector. That is exactly what happened before the 1912 Ashes.
Australia captain Clem Hill and team-mate Peter McAlister had enjoyed a frosty relationship in the past. It turned nasty, though, when McAlister was sent to act as a spy on the players, who did not like him, by the Australian Board of Control.
The board and players had different opinions on who should manage their squad for the 1912 series, and after a slanging match had ensued, Hill gave McAlister the punch he had, in his view, “been asking for all night”.
1932-33 - Bodyline
Cricket and politics collided with almost devastating consequences for Anglo-Australian relations.
England captain Douglas Jardine took his side into the lion's den and returned with the Ashes urn after adopting their controversial 'bodyline' bowling tactic. Designed mainly to limit the threat posed by Australia's star batsman Don Bradman, it consisted largely of fast, short-pitched bowling aimed at the batsman’s body, and with a clutch of fielders on the leg side.
Having seen his wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield knocked unconscious by a ball from England bowler Harold Larwood, Australia captain Bill Woodfull claimed: “There are two sides out there. One is playing cricket and one is not.”
Jardine was unmoved by suggestions that his tactics were unsporting, and the visitors won the series 4-1. The incidents, though, prompted a rethink of the Laws as MCC moved to try and stamp out further instances of bodyline bowling. Larwood, meanwhile, was a victim of the diplomacy efforts and never played for England again.
1975 - Vandals stop play
During the third Test of the 1975 Ashes play was stopped for an unusual and regrettable reason - the wicket was vandalised during the night.
Going into the last day, the game was tantalisingly poised, with Australia 220 for three chasing 445 for victory. However, before the crowd started to arrive, Headingley groundsman George Cawthray found that lumps had been dug out of the pitch at the Rugby Ground End.
More worryingly, the holes created had been filled with oil - and the match was abandoned after the police were called to deal with the situation.
The vandals were campaigning for the release of George Davis, who was serving a jail sentence for armed robbery. They also sprayed graffiti on the walls of the ground to help draw attention to the case.
1979-80 - Lillee’s secret weapon
Dennis Lillee was hardly a stranger to controversy. Despite being widely regarded as one of the finest bowlers to have played the game, he figures in this list on the back of an incident with the bat.
When Lillee came out to bat during the first 1979-80 Test in Perth - during a three-match series in which the Ashes were not at stake - his chosen equipment provoked a furious reaction from England captain Mike Brearley. Lillee was carrying an aluminium bat – called the 'Combat' – and, after facing three deliveries, was asked by the umpires to change it following Brearley’s complaint that it damaged the ball.
Lillee was adamant that he would play on, and a 10-minute stand-off ensued which ended only when his captain, Greg Chappell, intervened. Lillee reluctantly conceded and swapped the bat for a traditional wooden one. However, he made no attempt to hide his feelings by hurling his old bat away in disgust.
1982-83 - Alderman attacked
Despite cricket fans having a reputation for sportsmanship, there have been incidents which England fans would want to forget, notably during the Ashes in 1982-83.
Terry Alderman, nemesis of England’s batsmen for so long, was slapped by an England fan who had run on to the pitch. As a natural reaction, the seamer chased after the fan and caught him.
In the process of tackling the intruder, however, Alderman dislocated his own shoulder, was carried from the field on a stretcher and played no further cricket for a year.