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Real History Behind Ashed Cricket Series

Posted on November 12, 2019 by Stewart Dixon

After every two years, Australia and England gear up for head to head clashes in one of the biggest test competitions in the international cricket; The Ashes. It’s a unique test series and also one of the longest-running rivalries in the history of cricket. Whosoever wins the Ashes take the trophy away. The series is held alternatively between Australia and England. This time, it was the latter who hosted the tournament. 

Why is the series called The Ashes?

“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, RIP. NB The body will be cremated, and The Ashes were taken to Australia.” Reginald Shirley Brooks, a young journalist, wrote this mockery that appeared in the Sporting Times in 1882. He had to do so because Australia marked their first victory over the full strength England team at the Oval. It was shocking for everyone, especially for the English audience. 

Three weeks later, England set out a team to Australia, which was pre-decided before the defeat. It was an event of three test matches, wherein Australia won the first. However, England won the left two tests, and it became a word of mouth that they brought back the Ashes. 

After winning the last test, a group of Melbourne women presented a small urn to Bligh. It’s believed that the pot contained the ashes of a burnt wooden bail used in the last match. The future wife of Bligh, Florence Morphy, was also present in the same group. 

In the 1990s, when MCC noticed that the two teams want to compete for an actually trophy, it commissioned an urn-shaped Waterford Crystal trophy. Of course, the decision was taken after some discussions with Cricket Australia and England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB). However, in 1998, Bligh’s daughter in law said that it was the remains of her mother-in-law, nothing related to a cricket bail. In the same year, it was first presented to Mark Taylor as the winning captain. Since then, the urn is presented to the winning captain of the respective team. 

When Hon. Ivo Bligh aka Lord Darnley died in 1927 the urn was transferred to MCC by his widow. If you want to see it, visit the Lord’s cricket museum wherein it’s stored very proudly with a golden and red velvet bag as well as the scorecard of the match that happened in 1882. The 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 only time this urn left Lord’sLord’s was in 2006-07 when it became the center of attraction in the MCC Travelex Ashes Exhibition. The container was displayed in six states of Australia at seven museums to attract more than 105,000 visitors.

Statistics and current Ashes champion

In Ashes 2019, five tests happened between the two teams, and Australia retained the trophy. It was the 71st series wherein both the sides won two matches each to draw it. Steve Smith was the most run-scorer, and Cummins was the best bowler with the highest number of wickets. 

Overall, England has won 32 series, Australia has 34 wins, and six series has been drawn, including the last one. Australia kept the trophy for eight years, while it remained under the possession of England for 56 years. As you can see, Australia has been dominant in The Ashes. Even after taking the cricket world cup this year, the English team was unable to handle Steve Smith. Smith was one of the top reasons why Australia finished the last season with a draw. 

To remember

  • The Ashes Started in 1882–83 at The Oval, England)
  • Playing teams are Australia and England
  • The administration is under International Cricket Council (ICC)
  • Format of the series is test cricket
  • Tournament format contains a 5-match series
  • Most runs are scored by Sir Donald Bradman (5,028)
  • Most wickets are taken by Shane Warne (195)
  • Most successful Team is Australia with 34 series wins
  • Current trophy holder is Australia (2019)

This post was written by guest author Stewart Dixon from Stewart is a cricket enthusiast and follower. He loves to watch and write about cricket game.

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