In 1882, England and Australia played a test match at the Oval in London. The result was something of a shock for the English crowd, with the visitors victorious by 7 runs. This result was seen as shameful throughout English cricket and sent shockwaves that threatened to dislodge England’s major dominance in cricket.
Editors at the London newspaper would never have imagined the huge impact their satirical death notice would have on the world of cricket, the newspaper article read: “In Affectionate Remembrance of English cricket, which died at the Oval on 29th August, 1882…the body will be cremated and the ashes taken back to Australia.”
The Sporting Times also published an article than run as follows:
“In Affectionate Remembrance of ENGLISH CRICKET, which died at the Oval on 29th AUGUST, 1882, Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances R.I.P. N.B. – The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”
The following year when England were preparing to tour Australia, the English newspapers added both drama and pressure to the forthcoming cricket series by labeling it as “the quest to regain The Ashes of English Cricket”
Since the famous 1882-83 tour, cricket tests between England and Australia have always been known as the Ashes, apart from 2 or 3 occasions in the late 1970s. The ashes series is held every two years in a venue that alternates between England and Australia. The winning team retains the urn, and incase the series is drawn; the previous winner will keep it until the next series.
The ownership of the Ashes is given to whichever wins the test series outright. In the recent years a replica urn has been presented to the ashes winning captain, with the original then being presented to the MCC by Ivo Bligh’s widow after his death in 1927, this is where the urn has stayed every year since apart from the occasional exhibitions.
With the exception of 2005, Australia have had the better of England over recent years, but during the earlier years of the ashes the English were very dominant, holding the Ashes for 11 out of 12 series played between the years of 1883 and 1896.
Top 5 moments in Ashes history
Don Bradman’s final test – 1948
A historic and emotional moment for many a reason, Don Bradman’s last ever test match, a standing ovation from the English crowd that would warm the hearts of anyone, a fitting end to a fantastic career. When Don Bradman walked out for his final Test innings at The Oval in Greater London, the English fielders welcomed him with three cheers and clapped him on his way to the wicket. This set the stage for a highly exciting and emotional last chapter to Bradman’s test career. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be; he was bowled for a duck with the second ball, and left the field to an eerie silence, followed by a number of awkward applause. Getting the four runs that day would have bagged him an impressive test average of 100, but as it stands, he will forever remain on 99.94, brilliant none the less.
Shane Warne’s ball of the century
Shane Warne will go down in history as one of crickets greatest ever spin bowlers. He will also be forever remembered for the way he befuddled legendary Australian batsman Mike Gatting with an outstanding leg break dismissal during the 1993 Ashes series at Old Trafford. This was the first ball that he had ever bowled in a test match on English turf; this moment has rightfully been named “Ball of the Century”
Glenn McGrath reaches 500
McGrath affectionately known as “Pigeon” started the first test at Lord’s in 2005 needing just the one wicket to hit an incredible 500 test wicket milestone. After claiming a big scalp in Marcus Trescothik early in the test, McGrath put on a gold pair of boots to celebrate his achievement, much to the disapproval of his fellow team mates and opposition. Either they were lucky boots, or Glenn simply rose to the occasion as he marched on to amazing match statistics of 9 for 82, playing a key part in the Aussies victory.
England victorious at Edgbaston
For the Australians, any loss to England is hard to take, but a loss to the English when all you need is three more runs to win, is like swallowing a gone off lump of cream. This is the exact situation that the Aussies had to suffer at the second test at Edgbaston during the 2005 test series. Fans of both nations had their hear in their mouths as Brett Lee and Michael fought ferociously on the ninth wicket for the 62 runs that were needed to win. With Australia only three runs shy of victory, Kasprowicz gloved it behind and pretty much handed the win to the English. A great moment in this match was when Flintoff walked over to console Brett Lee, showing great sportsmanship.
Adam Gilchrist’s second fastest test century ever
Under any circumstances, this would have been impressive, but the fact Gilchrist stormed to the second fastest test century ever, in front of a home crowd, and against long time rivals the English, sealing a third straight victory and regaining the Ashes for the Aussies, made it even more impressive. At 97 runs from just 54 balls, he needed just three runs from his next delivery to beat the 1986 record set by Viv Richards, but the English cheekily delivered the ball wide meaning Gilchrist was unable to score from it.
This is a guest post brought to you by David Frederick, a cricket enthusiast at Venatour Cricket Tours.
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