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History of the Ashes: Greatest Cricket Rivalry

History of the Ashes: Greatest Cricket Rivalry
Image Credit - Essetially Sports

In the history of cricket, the Ashes is undoubtly considered as the greatest rivalry ever existed which dates back to 1880’s. The Ashes is the test cricket held between England and Australia. The series consists of 5 test matches, and they are held in Australia and England once every year alternatively.

The first ashes were staged in 1877. In August 29th 1882, Australia accomplished their first victory on the home ground of England. This news inspired Reginald Shirley Brooks who is a journalist from London ridicule “obituary” which appeared in the “Sporting Times” newspaper. In 1882-83 series held in Australia, the England captain Ivo Bligh had promised to “regain the Ashes”. Then the media made this as big news “the quest to regain the Ashes”. After smelling the victory of two out of three tests, a group of Melbourne women awarded him with a small trophy. After the death of Ivo Bligh in 1927, the trophy was given to MCC by Bligh’s wife.

These are many replicas of the Ashes trophy around the market. The one which was awarded to Bligh is a personal trophy as a token of love. The official trophy was given to the winners since 1998-99 Ashes series. The Ashes trophy is significantly held in MCC museum, but Australia took the urn twice in 1998 for Australian bicentenary celebration and in the 2006-07 series.

Current statistical analysis shows that

• Australia holds the current trophy.
• Australia has the most successful wins (33 series).
• England won 32 series.
• Six series were drawn.
• The player with most runs is Sir Donald Bradman (5028 runs).
• The player with most wickets is Shane Warne (195 wickets).

Origin of the Ashes trophy

The ashes trophy is made of terracotta and 10.5 cm tall. It is said that it contains the ashes of the burnt cricket bail. The trophy was first presented to Ivo Bligh (Lord Darnley) in 1882-83 in Australia. This trophy is the award for which England and Australia compete in test series. The first time the Ashes was mentioned was when the series happened in 1882-83 in the “Sporting Times”.

Among many test matches played, there were three main matches.

1. Held in Melbourne – Australia won.
2. Held in Melbourne – England won.
3. Held in Sydney – again England won.
The urn was made while 1882-83 series. Two texts were present in the trophy. The first text says “The Ashes” on the top and the second one is a balladry from Melbourne Punch magazine.

A short time-lapse of what happened in 1882-83 series

Day 1: Australia won the toss and chose to bat first. But the decision Australia made was backfired as the wickets were continuously falling and scored about 63 runs in 80 overs. In England, Dick Barlow gave 19 runs for 5 wickets, and Ted peate took 4 wickets for 31 runs. Both of them had a great economy rate of 0.61 and 0.82. On the other hand, Australian openers had a partnership of just 10 runs. After the end of first innings, England scored 101 runs leading Australia by 38 runs

Day 2: the Australian openers contributed a partnership of 66 runs. The first breakthrough made Australia lose four wickets for just 13 runs. Finally, the Australians scores 122 runs leading England by 84 runs. In the fourth innings, the Australians broke the opening partnership for 15 runs. Then the England team after lot of struggle scored 75 runs for 8 wickets. Henre Boyle took the remaining two wickets in the same over for 2 runs. England tried its best to win in their ground but lost the game by just seven runs leaving the England audience in sorrow.


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