Many younger viewers from all around the globe might be wondering what’s so fuss about the series between Australia and England. Since Ashes is currently going on in Australia, we thought of enlightening you of everything regarding the Ashes. It’s basically the two earliest protagonists playing a test series that includes 5 matches. But let us tell you that it’s much more than, much much more than that.
Let us start by stating the fact that rivalries define the sport. India vs Pakistan may be around 60 years old but the Ashes are 100+ years old. For over 100+ years England and Australia fight in 5 match test matches that last up to 5 days. Both these oldest and the cricketing nations compete against each other to win The Ashes Urn – a small but most prized trophy in cricket for the fans of Australia and England cricket fans.
The Ashes Story – How it All Began
Starting with the name, the series is named after a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper. The Sporting Times in 1882 after a match at The Oval in which Australia beat England on an English ground for the first time. The obituary also declared that “English Cricket has died and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia. Here’s the image of the original newspaper cutting that published the news.
Soon, the term ashes got associated with the 1882-83 series played in Australia. Now the English press labeled the next English tour to Australia in 1882-83 as the quest to regain The Ashes. Since then both these cricket-playing nations have hosted this series every two years, with the sides taking turns to tour each other’s country.
Do you remember when we said it’s more than just two sides competing for a small trophy? The Ashes is the single series in the whole world that offers opportunities to the players to become sporting legends as it allows two cricketing nations to unite in the furnace of elite sport.
Let’s Talk About The Urn
The early Ashes England used to dominate this series. The first Ashes test was played way back in 1882. England won the inaugural series by a 2-1 margin. However, over the years Australia has won the Ashes 34 times and England has won it 31 times.
It is long believed that the real Ashes – a small urn thought to contain the ashes of a bail used in the third match were presented to Bligh by a group of Melbourne. But there is no proof of that because, in 1998, Lord Darnley’s 82-year-old daughter-in-law said they were the remains of her mother-in-law’s veil, not a bail. There is also some evidence as well that suggests a ball. The certain origin of the Ashes, therefore, is the subject of some dispute.
After Lord Darnley’s death in 1927, the urn was given to MCC to Lord Darnley’s Australian-born widow, known as Florence. You can see it in the cricket museum at Lord’s with a red and a gold velvet bag, made especially for it along with the scorecard of the 1882 match. The famous text on the urn is as follows.
“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 women’s teams of the respective countries also play a version of the Ashes too. Let us dive deep into this a little bit more. The first women’s test series between England and Australia – the first women’s test series anywhere – was played in 1934-35.
Do you know that the contest between the women’s team was not officially called ‘The Women’s Ashes’ until 1998, when an autographed bat was burned before the first test at Lords, and the ashes were placed inside a cricket ball to make a trophy?
However, in 2013, a new women’s trophy was also produced. However, unlike Men’s, the women’s Ashes are decided from a mix of matches – tests, ODIs, and T20 international matches as well. four points are awarded for victory in a test match, two each for a draw, and two points for winning a one-day or T20 match. The Women’s Ashes have been played every two years since 2001 and Australia are the current champions after winning the 2019 Ashes.
Some Prolific Ashes Records
- The record for chasing the highest total in the Ashes is held by Australia who successfully chased a target of huge 404 runs in 1948 at Headingley, England. Australia two greats Donald Bradman and Arthur Morris scored centuries in this innings with scores of 173 and 182 respectively.
- The highest partnership by wickets was recorded on 18 August 1934 at the Oval. Once again the cricket legend Sir Donald Bradman and Bill Ponsford made 451 runs for the second wicket as they scored 244 and 266 respectively. And another record was set as Australia won the match by 532 runs.
- The lowest total in the Ashes was made by Australia in 1905 at Birmingham where they made only 36 runs against England’s 376-9 dec. Moreover, the match ended in a draw.
- The biggest victory in the Ashes is England’s victory at The Oval in 1938 by an innings and 579 runs also remains an all time record for the biggest victory. This match took place in 1928 at Brisbane as Patsy Hendren of England scored a century in the first innings. Australia were chasing 742 but they all were bowled out at only 66 runs.
- Australia has 5 10-wicket victories as compared to 3 by England in terms of biggest victory by wickets.
This was all about: The Ashes – everything about history and the greatest rivalry in cricket. So, you see how a small obituary leads to the biggest rivalry in sports of all time. We can say that Ashes is the el-Clasico of Cricket. We hope you like this detailed blog on the Ashes. Until Next Time – Goodbye!