The BBC has steadfastly refused to make a move for the rights after being put off by the £1 million price tag imposed by Cricket Australia.
However, ITV is understood to have contacted the governing body about a deal after the asking price was significantly reduced, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Buoyed by the recent success of its coverage of the Indian Premier League - watched in March by more than 500,000 viewers on ITV4 - ITV hopes to secure the high-profile cricket rights.
No agreement has yet been finalised, but industry sources believe that it is just days away, meaning cricket fans without access to Sky Sports would be able to follow the Ashes.
Should ITV secure the rights, then it would have to contend with a scheduling headache as the Sky Sports deal stipulates that highlights cannot be aired before 10pm the following day.
That would mean the highlights show would be broadcast on an ITV digital channel shortly before a new day of play begins in Australia.
Terrestrial broadcasters have recently had mixed fortunes with cricket rights. Channel 4 gained massive audiences for its coverage of the home Ashes tournament in 2005, but complained that it made a loss on the broadcast.
However, Channel 5's highlights show of England's home tests and One-Day Internationals has been a huge success, regularly attracting audiences of around 1m viewers.