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Home » Ashes » History Of The Ashes Cricket Tournament
History Of The Ashes Cricket Tournament
The Ashes Tournament stands to attest cricket's deep reaching roots in the firm soil of history. Named after test matches between England and Australia, the history of Ashes smacks of pungent English pride and it pervasion into cricket.

In 1882, England played a test match against Australia at the Oval. Much to the shock of the English crowd, the visitors won the match by 7 runs. Such a shameful debacle aroused great embarrassment and sent shockwaves that clearly threatened to dislodge England's hegemony in cricket. An English magazine 'Cricket: A Weekly Record of the Game' tried to infuse levity into the solemn affair by writing a mock obituary to English cricket in following words- "English Supremacy in the Cricket Field which expired on the 29th day of August at the Oval". The gravity of the situation was such that a single obituary would have never really been enough to capture the mass despair, consequently, two days later, another was published in The Sporting Times, it ran 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."

When England was preparing to tour Australia the following year, the enthusiastic English newspapers added drama to the forthcoming series by naming it as the quest to regain The Ashes of English Cricket.

Even after suffering from much overuse, the term 'the Ashes' did not gain official currency for a long time. In 1925, the following verse appeared in The Cricketers Annual-

So here's to Chapman, Hendren and Hobbs,
Gilligan, Woolley and Hearne:
May they bring back to the Motherland,
The ashes which have no urn!

As a part of the endeavor to impart a physical form to The Ashes, several urns, each one vouching it sigmificane, changed hands; but the one which received the most attention and credence was the urn presented to Lord Danley during the 1881-83 tour. The fragility of the urn in modern times has neccessiated a replica of it to made. The replica is made from Waterford Crystal and is little larger than the original.

The Ashes has now come to mean a series between England and Australia. It is held in every two years and the venue alternates between the two countries. The team which wins the test series retains the Ashes Urn, and incase of a drawn series, the winner of the previous series keeps it till the next series.

Nothing stands close to the prestige that the Ashes holds for both the countries and the cricketing world has witnessed several battles-some well contested, some hopelessly one-sided- being fought on the cricket pitch. England dominated the first eight Ashes series, but post-1934 the Ashes has almost made home in Australia, while travelling back to England as a rarely as a tourist.

Out of the 63 Ashes series so far, Australia has won 30, five series have been drawn and the remaining have gone in favour of England. In the recent Ashes series in 2005, England beat Australia and thus brought home the Ashes after 16 years.

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