Let’s talk About The Ashes Series, Every two years in cricketing history, we see England and Australia square off for The Ashes.
The series comprises of five Test matches played at each other’s home. At the moment, the 2019 Ashes series is on in England.
Australia won the first Test to take a 1-0 lead in the series. They also pocketed the 2017-18 Ashes by a 4-0 margin and are the holders of the urn.
The Ashes has a significant history in shaping up of cricket and the way it’s played today.
We are talking about the ashes series today because It’s the mother of all battles as far Test cricket is concerned. We have had many fascinating records, feats, and milestones being notched with every passing series.
There have been some wonderful performances by both teams besides the domination in phases.
But there are some unique facts that need to be shared about The Ashes.
We all watch and love the intensity of the series that is one of the famous events in the sport’s history.
But to be true, how much do you know about The Ashes? Do you know some of the simple yet unique facts about the rivalry?
Here we present some of the best facts about this renowned Test cricket series.
The Ashes series dates back to the 1800s
England and Australia began playing each other in Test cricket back in 1877.
But it was in 1882, after England’s loss to Australia at the Oval, London, “The Sporting Times”, a British sporting newspaper, published a satirical obituary to English cricket.
The newspaper writer stated that the “body will be cremated and The Ashes were taken to Australia.”
So when England set off for the tour Down Under for the 1882/83 series, their captain, Ivo Bligh, announced that he was going to reclaim them.
This is how The Ashes came into prominence.
England went on to win two out of the three tests that year and were presented with a small urn by a group of Melbourne woman, one of whom became Bligh’s wife.
The urn was said to contain the ashes of a wooden ball and was jokingly described as “The Ashes of Australian cricket.”
Same venues for The Ashes
Generally, when two nations play Test cricket, each country uses a different venue for each match.
When the same opponent visits the hosts next time, the venues are different.
But The Ashes is completely different. We have the same grounds designated to host the series by both countries.
English grounds that are used have the likes of Old Trafford, The Oval, Lord’s, Trent Bridge, Headingley, and Edgbaston. Whereas, Australia usually uses grounds such as The Gabba, the MCG, the Adelaide Oval, the SCG and Perth’s WACA.
This is set to continue for a long long time.
The historic urn was never the official trophy
The historic urn has never been presented to the winners.
In fact, the tiny terracotta urn was believed to have been a personal gift to Ivo Bligh from his future wife, Florence Morphy, and some other Melbourne ladies.
There wasn’t an official trophy until 1998-99 when an urn-shaped award crafted from Waterford Crystal was introduced.
Meanwhile, also nobody knows what’s inside The Ashes urn.
According to legend, its contents could be the charred remains of a bail, stumps or a ball’s outer case, although there are also theories that the urn at the MCC isn’t the original.
One of Ivo Bligh’s descendants, the Dowager Countess of Darnley, even claimed that it contains the remnants of Florence Morphy’s veil.
England have never inflicted a whitewash over Australia
Australia has embarrassed England by winning every Test match in a series on three occasions: 1920-21, 2006-07 and 2013-14.
England has never been able to achieve the same feat. Their most decisive result came in 1978-79 when they defeated their opponents by a 4 – 1 margin.
The Ashes have always been in England?
Despite frequent complaints from the Aussies, the urn has always stayed in England – at Lord’s cricket ground, home of the MCC and indeed cricket.
Although it has visited Australia twice – once when it was brought to Sydney for the Bicentenary Test Match in 1988 and secondly in 2006 for the tour of the Ashes Exhibition to each state capital of Australia.
What happens when an Ashes series is drawn?
When an Ashes series is drawn, the team that won the previous series retains the urn.
This has happened in 1938, 1962-63, 1965-66, 1968 and 1972. On the first four occasions, Australia was the team to hold onto the title, whilst England benefited in 1972.
Bradman’s record of runs could be an all-time show
Nobody in the game can perhaps ever reach or surpass the tally of former GOAT Sir Don Bradman.
The Australian’s record of 5,028 runs is likely to remain at the top of the table for many years to come.
Besides his runs, he also accumulated the most centuries in The Ashes (19).
This is another feat that looks to be unscathed for a long time indeed.
Sir Jack Hobbs and the legendary Allan Border, both playing in more series Test matches than Bradman, managed to rack up 3,636 and 3,222 runs respectively. Both are second and third on the list.