The Ashes Series

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The Ashes is what keeps the fierce competitive spirit of old English and Australian cricket alive. In the cricketing world, The Ashes is the definition of intense and competitive cricket.

The Ashes embraces the unique spark of traditional cricket. Also, this is the oldest rivalry in the history of cricket. Every two years, the two teams compete and try to reclaim (or keep) custody of The Ashes Urn.

The Birth of The Ashes Series

The Ashes marks a remarkable passage in the journey of test cricket. In 1882, England faced a disappointing defeat at the hands of the Australians at the Oval. Australia was a British colony at the time.

The loss engendered mockery and criticism. The Sporting Times newspaper published an obituary that English cricket died at the Oval and their ashes were being taken to Australia. And thus, the name of the series was born!

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The Passion and Excitement Around The Ashes

The Ashes can be exciting to watch, but at times, it can be brutal and intimidating for the players involved. Certainly, that's why the players, as well as fans, are so involved in the game.

On special matches like the Boxing Day test, passionate supporters cheer the game of cricket to its fullest. Thankfully, match tickets are usually relatively affordable allowing fans to enjoy The Ashes.

Some of the most exciting and passionate cricketing moments have been part of The Ashes. For instance, Johnson's fiery and menacing bowling performance in 2013-14 led Australia to a 5-0 win, and Sir Alastair Cook's 798 runs in The Ashes 2010-11 helped England to win a first-ever away series in 25 years.

The Inaugural The Ashes

In 1882, an English team captained by Ivo Bligh traveled to Australia to resuscitate the ashes mentioned in The Sporting Times newspaper. The term “ashes” arose as a euphemism of the fierce rivalry of cricketing supremacy. England defeated their rivals in a 3-1 series win, humiliating the Australians in this 1882 series.

Ivo Bligh was presented with a small urn that contained the ashes of a calcined bail. The Urn is now an exhibit at the museum of Lord's Cricket Ground.

Format of The Ashes

The Ashes has the responsibility to keep the traditional test cricket alive. Thus, the format of The Ashes is a traditional one. Both teams host this series every two years with 5 matches in the schedule.

Traditionally, in Australia, the Boxing Day test match is played at Melbourne Cricket Ground, and Sydney International Ground hosts the New Year Test. In England, the Oval is the de facto host of the final test because of its historic importance.

The Success of The Ashes

Some Aussie and English fans prefer The Ashes over The World Cup. That's because there's a bit of banter among players and quippy remarks from the media during The Ashes. Also, some Ashes songs are sung by the crowd, either in support of their team or to mock the guests.

The reputation of The Ashes as the traditional way of cricket has left its mark on culture too. There are films, T.V. shows, Australia — Great Britain Rugby series, and games created under the influence of The Ashes.

Summary of The Ashes

Since 1882, the year The Ashes emerged, the Urn has been in Australia's custody for 80 years and in England's custody for 55 years.

In 1933, Sir Don Bradman made his debut in Ashes series. During his time, Australia gained a heavy lead playing quality cricket which was a blessing for Australia but a curse for English bowlers.

Because of the long-held continuous events of The Ashes, there have been 71 Ashes series: Australia won it 33 times and England won it 32 times; 6 series have been concluded as a draw.

The most recent event of The Ashes ended up in a tied series. Australia has proved its dominance over England in 2013-14 and 2017-18, with 5-0 and 4-0 wins respectively.

Records and Stats of The Ashes

Out of the total 335 matches played between Australia and England in The Ashes, the former has managed to win 136 matches while the latter won 108 matches.

The highest Ashes team total (903/7) was posted by England in the 1937-38 series. Australia lost the match by 579 runs which is also a record for the highest run victory.

Sir Donald Bradman holds records for most runs (5028 in 37 matches), most centuries (19), and highest average (89.79) whereas Len Hutton holds the records for highest individual score (364).

Conclusion

At the end of the day, while The Ashes does represent one of the fiercest sporting battles between nations, it also typifies the strong spirit and passion found within cricket.


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Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.