The 1896 English cricket season saw Yorkshire win the County Championship title after only losing three of 26 games, setting a points percentage record with 68.42. Yorkshire's team did not possess the greatest performers statistically, such as Sussex with Ranjitsinhji, or Gloucestershire with W. G. Grace, but a well-rounded squad with four bowlers taking more than 70 wickets in the Championship and five batsmen scoring over 1000 runs gave them the title. Playing against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in May, Warwickshire scored 887 in their first innings, which is still the highest total in the history of the County Championship.
The highlight of the season, however, was the Australian tour, where Australia won their first Test match in England since 1888, and gave England a fight up until the third Test. On a rain-affected pitch, however, England hauled in a 66-run third test victory thanks to Bobby Peel, who took six for 23. The win sealed the Ashes in favour of England by 2 wins to 1.
England won again, but this time faced a series-decider in the final match at The Oval, without George Lohmann of Surrey and William Gunn of Nottinghamshire, who went on a strike over match fees allegedly received by the amateur WG Grace. In the first Test at Lord's, England won by six wickets, chasing 108 to win, but Australia recovered to win the second Test at Old Trafford, despite 154 from Ranjitsinhji on debut - as the first Indian to play Test cricket, and only the second to score a century on Test debut. The third Test was ravaged by rain, and in poor playing conditions England won by 66 runs. The highest individual score in that match was 47 from Australian Joe Darling.