The Ashes – Cricket’s Oldest Rivalry
‘The Ashes is the name of the entire test series played between England and Australia. It was first played way back in 1882-83 and hence it is called ‘cricket’s oldest rivalry’. This five test match series is played every alternate year in both the country alternatively. As the last The Ashes was played in Australia in 2013, the next Ashes will be played in England in 2015. Previously, whenever the Ashes was played in England, there used to be 6 match series, but since last many years in England too, the series comprises of 5 tests only. Australia is the most successful team amongst the two as it has won 32 series till now. Australia is the current holder of the ‘Ashes Urn’ as well. Sir Don Bradman is the highest run scorer in the Ashes with 5028 runs whereas Shane Warne is the highest wicket-taker in the Ashes with 195 wickets!
History of the Ashes
Although in the record books you will find that the first test series between England and Australia was played in the year 1877 but The Ashes was started later in the year 1882. In that tour, Australians played only one Test match at The Oval. They made only 63 runs on a very difficult wicket in the first innings. England in response made 101. In response, Australians did a little better than the first innings and score 122 runs. England needing 85 got all out with only two runs to win. A few days later on 2nd September the English daily, the Sporting Times published a ‘death notice’ of the English cricket which was happened on 29th August 1882 and also declared that “The body will be cremated and the ‘ashes’ taken to Australia. The captain of England Ivo Bligh promised the English fans that the ‘ashes’ would be regained in the next series of 1882-83 and thus the term ‘Ashes’ got popular.
The Ashes Urn
Ivo Bligh kept his promise and won the two out of three test matches in the return series and a small Urn was presented to Bligh by a group of women from Melbourne. The Urn was containing the ashes of a wooden bail and it was humorously called “the ashes of Australian Cricket”. So since then every team play for this Urn and fight it out the pride of their respective countries.