Why is the series between England and Australia called Ashes?

England and Australia have played 346 Tests against each other. But why is cricket's oldest rivalry called the Ashes?

Published: 01st August 2019 11:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st August 2019 11:58 PM   |  A+A-


What England and Australia are fighting for | AP


NEW DELHI: As Australia and England get ready to resume cricket's oldest rivalry, let's go down memory lane and find out why the series between these two sides is termed as "Ashes".

The term Ashes gained currency after Australia's first Test match win in England. The team from down under had defeated England for the first time in England at the Oval in London on August 21, 1882.

Then, England was at the peak of cricket and this loss was not taken very well by people in the country.

After this loss in 1882, England's 'Sunday Times' carried a mock obituary of cricket in the country, stating that the body of England cricket will be cremated and the ashes would be taken to Australia.

Two months later, the England team led by Hon Ivo Bligh, went to Australia to play the series and the skipper promised to make a comeback with the Ashes. The Australian counterpart at that time, WL Murdoch, had said he would do anything to keep the Ashes. Since then, the series between these two sides gained prominence and it became one of the oldest cricketing rivalries.

After suffering loss against Australia in 1882, England managed to win the next eight series between the two side. Australia recorded their first Ashes series win in 1891-92, when it managed to outclass England 2-1.

Another significant moment in the cricketing rivalry between these two sides came in the 1932-33 tour as the series got termed as "Bodyline Series".

To curb the natural gameplay of Australian great Don Bradman, England had developed a strategy of bowling quickly at the body of the batsmen with most of the fielders placed at close positions on the leg-side.

England enjoyed the fruit of the tactic, as they managed to win the series but the strategy then prompted changes to the laws of cricket.

England and Australia have played 346 Tests against each other in which England has managed to win 108 matches whereas Australia has won 144 matches. 94 matches between these two sides have ended in a draw.

The two sides last faced off in the 2017/18 season in which Australia came out triumphant and they are the current holders of Ashes. England and Australia will now take on each other in the five-match Test series, beginning today.

England managed to win their first 50-over World Cup title in July and they would look to keep the winning momentum going.

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