As Australia and England are ready to face off in a back to back Ashes series, so it would be interesting to know and understand the story behind the The Ashes. The Oldest and Greatest Cricket Rivalry – The Ashes came into existence when Australia Defeated England for the first time in August 1882.
Following England’s first defeat by Australia, the Sporting Times carried a mock obituary of English cricket, which stated that: “English Cricket had died and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” Although England won the 3 match test series 2-1 but the English media dubbed the next English tour to Australia (1882–83) as the quest to regain The Ashes.
Later that year, when the English Cricket Team under the leadership of Ivo Bligh went to Australia and promised to “recover those ashes” by defeating Australia in Test Series. Ivo Bligh fulfilled his promise as England won the Test Series 2-1 and a small terracotta urn containing the ashes of a bail were presented to Ivo Bligh by a group of Melbourne women.
When Ivo Bligh died his wife gave the urn(containing the ashes of a bail) to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), and it is now in the museum at Lord’s. However after this tour the whole thing was considered over and forgotten.
Twenty years later, in 1903, English captain Pelham Warner once again led a tour to Australia, with the stated aim of “recovering the ashes”, and after returning from a victorious series he wrote a book How We Recovered The Ashes, and that is how the term entered public discourse. The first mention of “The Ashes” in Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack occurs in 1905, while Wisden’s first account of the legend is in the 1922 edition.
Since the 1998–99 The Ashes test series, a Waterford Crystal representation of the Ashes urn has been presented to the winners of an Ashes series as the official trophy of that series.
Ever since 1882 England and Australia have been playing against each other every two years and the winner of the series takes the Prestigious Ashes Trophy. England and Australia have so far played 316 Tests out of which Australia have won 131 tests whereas England have won 97 tests and 88 Tests have ended in a draw.