CRICKET fans have been enjoying free views of England's final Ashes clash with Australia from an ideal home – yet there can be a downside.
Supporters have been avoiding ticket prices of up to £190 by watching captain Ben Stokes's men in action from a terrace flat overlooking the Oval cricket ground in Kennington, south London.
A block of luxury apartments is being advertised for both sale and rent, with free views of the cricket among the most prized features.
And the England's Barmy Army supporters' club has been among those paying tribute as the 5th Ashes Test got under way.
England are hoping to level the Ashes series at 2-2 despite Australia already retaining the historic urn.
The fans' group used Instagram to share video footage of spectators arriving via a back door and on to a balcony overlooking the pitch.
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They accompanied the video with the caption: "Is this the best flat in the world?"
The clip has already received more than 13,400 "likes" – with many commenters agreeing with the sentiment.
One said: "I used to live in this very block. It really was that good."
It was also described as "Easily the best flat in London", while another wrote: "Thank you English fans for keeping Test cricket alive – you guys are the best."
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Yet not everyone was delighted to be reminded about the location – and the pleasures can be wrecked in minutes by the weather.
One former resident complained: "Lived there for a year in 2020.
"Moved there for the cricket. Covid hit. No cricket. Joke's on me."
Live first-class cricket was abandoned when the coronavirus pandemic struck and lockdown was first declared in March 2020.
England's home series against the West Indies was first delayed and then played behind closed doors, with no fans allowed.
The matches were also restricted to specialbiosecure environments at two venues only, Manchester's Old Trafford and the Rose Bowl in Southampton, Hampshire.
The first post-Covid Test match back at the Oval was not until September 2021 when India beat England by 157 runs.
The only other one since then until now was South Africa's victory by nine wickets last September in a match which included a day's play being suspended following the Queen's death.
Free views are also of course dependent on the ever-changeable English weather.
Rain stopped play at Old Trafford last weekend in the 4th Test, denying England the victory they needed to keep their Ashes hopes alive.
The flats overlooking the south London stadium are part of a block called Oval Mansions – described by landlords as "The most desirable terrace in Britain".
An Instagram account for Oval Mansions replied to the England's Barmy Army video with: "Thanks for coming!"
Estate agents Winkworth have a two-bedroom maisonette in the building on sale for £795,000
They have told potential buyers: "You have the spectacular private roof terrace which wraps around the flat giving you two different external views.
"One into the Oval cricket ground and the other towards the Vauxhall skyline where the sun sets."
Two-bedroom apartments can also be rented for £2,500 or £2,695 per month, with one-bedroom flats advertised at £1,975 per month.
The block was first built in the 1890s and was inhabited by squatters between 1983 and 2000 before being sold off by Lambeth council in the following years.
Former residents during the squatters' years included artist Gillian Wearing and the singer Ian Dury, who moved into top-floor flat 40 Oval Mansions in 1974.
It was where he wrote many of the songs for his hit 1977 album "New Boots And Panties!!" as well as the single "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll".
Denise Roudette, Dury's girlfriend at the time, later recalled: "It was a one bedroom, no bathroom flat, with an incredible outlook from the top floor of Oval Mansions.
"You had the Oval cricket ground spread out before you and the gasworks behind you, which was dramatic."
The Oval, which opened in 1845, became in 1880 the first ground in England to host Test cricket.
It is not the only cricket stadium in the country offering free views to near-neighbours.
A two-bedroom apartment has just gone on sale overlooking Gloucestershire County Cricket Club's ground in the Bishopston area of Bristol.
Students in Leeds got to enjoy watching England's 3rd Test victory over Australia at Headingley from their rooftops.
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Other sport fans wanting free views from their homes have been invited to move into properties peering into Wimbledon for the tennis such as this two-bedroom flat.
There are also apartments overlooking football grounds such as League Two side AFC Wimbledon's at Plough Lane in south London, the east London Brisbane Road base of newly-promoted League One club Leyton Orient, and as part of new Premier League arrivals Luton Town's Kenilworth Road.
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