The Ashes is nothing but a test cricket series played between Australia and England. The word was coined in a humorous obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, shortly after Australia’s first Test victory on English soil, at The Oval, in 1882.
The Origin of the Name ASHES
The Ashes series began on August 29, 1882, when the Australian side won the inaugural Test on English soil by seven runs. After England lost to Australia for the first time, the term “Ashes” was coined.
The Sporting Times published a parody obituary of English cricket the next day, concluding that the body would be cremated with the ashes that were taken to Australia.
The following year, the England team went to Australia and won the series 2–1, and the victory was dubbed “bringing Ash back to England.” The Ashes Series was born out of this test series between the two countries.
The ashes of a burnt cricket bail are said to be held in the Ashes urn, constructed of terracotta. The Ashes urn stands about 15 cm tall. The winning team keeps the Ashes urn as a trophy.
For 137 years, the series has been played. Australia. At least once every two years, this series is alternated between these two countries. In 1882, the Ashes series began. An Ashes series consists of five Tests held alternately by England and Australia every two years.
The Ashes are considered to be held by the team who won the series most recently. Therefore, the group that presently owns the Ashes retains the trophy if the series is drawn. So far, 71 ashes series have been played, with Australia winning 34 times, England 32 times, and five tied.
Following their loss to Australia in 1882, England went on to win the next eight series against the Australians, losing only four of the 22 Tests during that time. In 1891–92, Australia won an Ashes series for the first time, defeating England 2–1.
England established a method of bowling with fielders deployed in a close ring on the leg side during the 1932–33 tour, which became known as the “Bodyline series.” The English won the series, but the technique spurred amendments to cricket’s laws.
The Australians, boosted by Bradman’s batting, reclaimed the Ashes in the next season and kept them for the next six series, covering nineteen years. During this time, the Australians traveled to England in 1948 and went undefeated throughout the tour, earning the nickname “The Invincibles.” Aside from winning,
Australia has won 136 of the 335 Ashes Tests, compared to England’s 108 triumphs. Australia also has the advantage in Ashes series wins, with 33 victories to England’s 32. Six series have ended in a tie, with Australia retaining the Ashes in five of them since they were the holders coming into the series.
After a tied series, England has once again held the Ashes. In the history of the Ashes series, only three times a team won all five Tests; Australia did it 5–0 in 1920–21, 2006–07, and 2013–14.
In an Ashes series, England’s highest winning margin was 5–1 in 1978–79. In the Ashes series of 1886, 1977, and 2013 England achieved its most significant unbeaten winning margin of 3–0.
Both England and Australia have held the Ashes for eight consecutive series. With England doing so from 1882–83 to 1890 and Australia from 1989 to 2002–03. Since 1882, a few Test series between the two sides have been played, including those played in 1976–77, 1979–80, 1980, and 1987–88.
In the entire history of the Ashes series, the Australian team has had it for 81 years, while England has held it for 56 years. The winning team maintains this trophy, and if the series is a tie, the defending champion keeps it. Australia won the most recent Ashes series in 2019.
Difficulties to Win the Ashes
The intense heat, the complex, quick, bouncy pitches that push batters to the limit of their techniques, the less-responsive ball, and the overwhelming pressures on and off the field are just a few of the reasons behind the winning an Ashes series in Australia becomes so difficult.
It’s a scenario that’s played out many times over the years, most recently in the devastating 5-0 whitewashes England suffered from 2006-2007 and 2013-2014. Steve Harmison set the tone for that disastrous series 15 years ago by bowling the first ball of the series straight into the hands of the opposition at the Gabba
In 1978/79, recognizing the Man of the Series began over a century later. The Man of the Series award is for the team’s contribution during the series. Dennis Lillee won the first-ever Ashes Man of the Series award in Australia’s 1978/79 series.
Many young cricketers in England and Australia want to be remembered with Sir Donald Bradman and Sir Ian Botham in the Ashes records. However, many people want to see the old Ashes records smashed and new ones made.
Sir Donald Bradman holds the Ashes record for most runs scored. In 37 matches, he has amassed 5028 runs and 19 centuries, and 12 half-centuries. As a result, he holds the record for the most centuries in the Ashes. Sir Donald Bradman had the top batting average of 89.78 in 37 matches and 63 innings in the Ashes.
An Australian, Sydney Edward Gregory, holds the record for the most ducks in the Ashes, with 11 ducks in 52 matches (92 innings). However, it’s worth noting that 11 of his 12 career ducks were during the Ashes alone.
With 195 wickets in 36 matches, Shane Warne holds the record for the most Ashes wickets (72 innings). 11 times, he took 5 in an innings, and four times he took ten wickets in a match which makes him a legendary Ashes bowler.
England’s Sydney Barnes holds the record for the most five-wicket hauls in the Ashes, with 12 in 20 matches (36 innings).
Shane Warne and Thomas Richardson share the record for the most 10-wicket hauls in an Ashes series. Both bowlers have four 10-wicket hauls under their belts.
With 52 Ashes matches under his belt, Sydney Gregory holds the record for most games played in the series. He has 2193 runs, with a high of 201 runs.
Australia’s Allan Border has played the most Ashes matches as captain and led the team to the most victories. He has led his team to 13 wins and only six losses in 28 games as captain.
Steven Smith, an Australian cricketer, holds the record for most Man of the Match awards in the Ashes. He has won six such titles in the Ashes so far, the most recent of which came in the first match of Ashes 2019.
Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath of Australia hold the record for most Man of the Series honors (2 each). All of the others have only received this award once.
Australia holds the record for pursuing the highest score in the Ashes, having chased a mark of 404 at Headingley in 1948. With 182 and 173, Arthur Morris and Donald Bradman both scored hundreds in this innings.
With 235 runs in a single Ashes innings at the Gabba in 2010, former English captain Alastair Cook holds the record for most runs in an Ashes single innings.
Australia and England are preparing for the Ashes, one of cricket’s most important tournaments. It’s a unique sequence of contests between England and Australia, and it’s one of the sport’s oldest rivalries.
Every two years, the two nations compete, with the winner taking home one of the sport’s most famous (and smallest) prizes, the Ashes urn.
England’s triumph at The Oval in 1938 by an innings and 579 runs is still the most significant victory in Ashes history. England also retains the record for the most runs-only success in the Ashes, with a total of 675. The match took place in Brisbane in 1928 when England’s Patsy Hendren hit a century (169) in the first inning of the Test.
Australia was knocked out for only 66 runs while pursuing 742 runs. In terms of most significant victory by wickets, Australia has five 10-wicket wins in the Ashes, compared to three for England.
Australia currently holds the Ashes. After a draw in the 2019 series, they retained the Ashes. It was the first time an Ashes series had finished in a tie since 1972. On the other hand, Australia kept the urn after winning the 2017 series.
As a result of COVID-19-related constraints, Cricket Australia has confirmed that the series will be played at five different venues around Australia from December 8, 2021, to January 18, 2022.
Australia is the defending Ashes champion, having won the series in 2017–18, with the 2019 Ashes series finishing in a tie. In addition, the series will be part of the ICC World Test Championships from 2021 to 2023.
So that was the Ashes series’ history. It is one of the oldest test series globally between England and Australia.
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