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What is so Great About Ashes? Cricket’s oldest rivalry explained.

Written by Danish

Ashes is always one of the most important dates in a cricket lover’s calendar.This all-important contest holds great significance.

The Ashes series, as we all know is one of the most awaited Test series played between England and Australia.
The Ashes is the name given to a special cricket series involving England and Australia.

The two nations meet roughly every two years, with the winners claiming one of the most famous (and smallest) trophies in sport, the Ashes urn.
The matches are held alternately in England and Australia. They consist of a series of five test matches, each lasting up to five days.


How did the Ashes start?



The story of the Ashes began way back in 1882 when England was beaten at home for the first time by Australia.

That’s what happened at the Oval on 29th August 1882 – the 9th test match between the two countries. Although it was just a 4 balls per over 2 day match, England team fell short by 7 runs and being the only test of the series – Australia not only won the match but the series as well.

“In affectionate remembrance of English cricket which died at The Oval, 29th August, 1882. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances. The body will be cremated and the Ashes taken to Australia” – wrote a London journalist, Reginald Shirley Brooks in a mock obituary (which means death notice). It was published by Sporting Times next day.”

After England had won two of the three Tests on the tour, a small urn was presented to Bligh by a group of Melbourne women including Florence Morphy, whom Bligh married within a year. The contents of the urn are reputed to be the ashes of a wooden bail, and were humorously described as “the ashes of Australian cricket”.

In the 1990s, recognizing the two teams’ desire to compete for an actual trophy, MCC commissioned – after discussions with the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia – an urn-shaped Waterford Crystal trophy.

From that day onwards, these two countries play a test match series every 2 years. Whoever wins the series, wins the Ashes. If series is a draw, Ashes remains with the previous winner.


Why are they called The Ashes?


The term originated in a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, immediately after Australia’s 1882 victory at The Oval, their first Test win on English soil. The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”.

The term ‘Ashes’ immediately became associated with England’s 1882–83 tour to Australia, before which the English captain Ivo Bligh had vowed to “regain those ashes” on the tour. Therefore English media dubbed the tour, as the quest to regain the Ashes.


Who has won the most Ashes?


Australia has won more Ashes Tests than England, winning 130 of the 325 matches, compared to England’s 106 victories.

But when it comes to series, Australia and England have each won an Ashes series on 32 occasions.


The text on the urn :



When Ivo goes back with the urn, the urn;
Studds, Steel, Read and Tylecote return, return;
The welkin will ring loud,
The great crowd will feel proud,
Seeing Barlow and Bates with the urn, the urn;
And the rest coming home with the urn.

The urn has never been the official trophy of the Ashes series, having been a personal gift to Bligh. However, replicas of the urn are often held aloft by victorious teams as a symbol of their victory in an Ashes series.


Summary of results


Played Won by
Won by
All Tests 325 130 (40%) 106 (32.6%) 89 (27.4%)
Tests in Australia 162 82 (50.6%) 56 (34.6%) 24 (14.8%)
Tests in England 163 48 (29.4%) 50 (30.7%) 65 (39.9%)
All series 69 32 (46.4%) 32 (46.4%) 5 (7.2%)
Series in Australia 34 18 (52.9%) 14 (41.2%) 2 (5.9%)


Also, Read The Amazing Fact of India


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