Moments of sporting triumphs are made up of a roaring crowd, a shiny trophy, and an anthem soundtrack. However, when it comes to the Ashes, an urn is the cherished prize above all these. When the Australian cricket team won their first Cricket Test match on English soil, the sporting Times made a mock obituary the next day on 30th of August 1882. In conclusion, it meant that the losing team’s body was cremated, and the ashes were placed in the urn.
The Ashes series is a five Test match, hosted by either England or Australia. After the loss to Australia in 1882, a few weeks later the English team was traveling to Australia, and the captain Ivo Bligh had vowed to return the ashes. England had won two out of the three Test matches, and it was after the match that Bligh was given the Urn by Melbourne women.
Replicas of the Urn and the term “The Ashes” was widely adopted by the sporting community ever since it was presented to Bligh. Although, he considered the Urn a personal gift his wife at upon his death and at his request bequeathed it to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). Read more about Marylebone Cricket Club at http://mccfoundation.co.uk/.
To fulfill the desires of the two teams in competing for an actual trophy, the MCC in the 1990s commissioned a Waterford crystal trophy in the shape of an urn. Mark Taylor, captain of the Australian team was the first to receive the official Urn when his side won the 1998/99 Test series. Today the real artifact resides at the MCC Museum at Lord’s. Thousands of visitors take the lords tour to see it.
Quest to recover the Ashes
A team has to win the five-day Test match series to be awarded the Urn. A draw in the series results in the winner of the last series retaining the urn. As of August 2015, Australia has won 32 and England 32 with five draws. Since 1882, Australia has had 130 wins while England 106 wins and 89 draws. In order to truly appreciate the intensity we will look at the last three series. Click here to know more about The Ashes.
Five Tests were played, and England won the series 3 to 1 to retain the Ashes. The English team had never won the series on Australia’s backyard since 1986, which had been the start of Australia’s decade Ashes domination. Moreover, England’s win was the first that a team won three Tests by an innings margin.
England recorded an impressive innings of 644, which was the highest since 1938. Additionally, they scored more than 500, four times in a single series.
Australia’s build-up to the series was one to question, seeing that the batting lineup was weak because of retirements of Captain Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey. A suspension from David Warner following an off-field incident was not promising for the team.
England was looking for a third consecutive Ashes win over Australia; unfortunately, the series was filled with controversy. During Test five on the fourth day, there was no play because of the rain and on the fifth day, the umpire stopped play due to bad light.
The new ICC rules of allowing umpires to stop play due to bad light had caused criticism from media and fans. It is mainly because England had a three nil advantage going to the fifth test at the Oval. After facing an aggressive Australian side, England was close to achieving its first 4-0 victory in an Ashes series. However, the fifth test was a draw.
In 2013, there were two Ashes series held, the last one ending in 2014 hosted in Australia. The hosts won the five test matches 5-0. It was the third time Australia had achieved a clean sweep a feat that has never been matched by England.
Australia had come to defend the Ashes and was looking to be the favorites in the series. England won the first Test in Cardiff while Australia took the second Test at Lords.
On the third day during the third Test, Peter Nevill and Mitchel Starc were able to extend Australia’s slender lead, but it was short lived when England’s bowlers returned to stop Australians innings at 265. Eventually, it was England who won by a good eight wickets to gain a 2-1 series lead.
The fourth Test saw Australia being bowled out for 253 ensuring England a good victory of 78 runs and an innings. There was only one change from the England’s side, Mark Wood was replacing the injured James Anderson. Australia’s change was Shaun Marsh replacing his brother Mitchel.
Before lunch on the first day, Australia was bowled out for 60 in 18.3 overs. Consequently, this was the least number of overs a team has been bowled for during a Test match in the first innings. England retained the Ashes with a game in hand.
Australia dominated the fifth Test from the get go. It was clear by the third day that England was facing an innings defeat. In the end, Australia won the match by innings and 46 runs.
The year 2015 proved that cricket is the most elusive sport to be played. Many cricket fans are still cherishing the conclusion of the last test match. Australia had won the fifth Test, but England won the series. Immediately after the end of the game, England was awarded the Ashes trophy.