The term ‘Ashes’ first came into practice after Australia defeated England – for the first time on English soil – at The Oval on 29th August 1882. Ever since, the two sides compete for one of the cricket’s highest trophies, ‘The Ashes’. So far, 325 tests have been played in the historic series. Australia manages to be ahead of their English counterparts with 130 wins while England have managed to win on 106 occasions. However, 89 matches between the two sides have ended in a draw. England is the current holders of the Ashes, having won the 2015 series.
After the humiliating loss in 1882, England was triumphant in the next eight series, during which they lost only four out of the 22 Tests. A day after the historical defeat, the ‘Sporting Times’ carried a mock obituary of English cricket, stating that the body of English cricket will be cremated and that the ashes will be taken to Australia. After a couple of months, an English team, captained by the Hon Ivo Bligh, went to tour Australia, with the captain promising to return with ‘the ashes’. His Australian equivalent, WL Murdoch, vowed to defend it with everything. It has over the years become one of the most prestigious prizes in the game. The location for the matches oscillates between England and Australia. They consist of a series of five test matches. It is believed that the real Ashes – an urn thought to still contain the ashes of a pair of stump bails used in – were gifted to Bligh by a group of Melbourne women. The winning teams are awarded a replica of the urn. The fragile original one can be seen in the cricket museum at Lord’s.