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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Mar. 31, 2020: Today as many remain at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we take cricket fans back to cricket’s oldest rivalry.
The Ashes is a two-nation test series between England and Australia. However, this test series between England and Australia is not always known as The Ashes.
Back in 1877 when the first test match between the Baggy Greens of Australia (a nickname which refers to the green hats the Aussie team usually wore during matches) and England took place, the name Ashes was not yet known. It was not until the ninth test which was played in 1882 that the term first appeared.
During the 1882/1883 Test Series, the Australian team won for the first time on English soil.
Lamenting the loss, English Newspapers at the time published an epitaph mourning their team’s loss. They dubbed it the death of English cricket. One of those obituaries that later became famous and from which the Ashes term came from was written by Reginald Shirley Brooks and it was published in “The Sporting Times.”
“In Affectionate Remembrance of ENGLISH CRICKET, which died at the Oval on 29 August 1882, Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing
friends and acquaintances
N.B.—The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”
In response to the newspaper publications, the English captain Ivo Bligh promised, he and his teammates would recover those Ashes. He repeatedly mentioned retrieving the ashes in the next test series, that the media soon picked up on the term.
However, the next year when England toured Australia, they won the 3-match series in a two-one win. As a symbol of the ashes, Bligh came to Australia to reclaim he was offered a small terracotta urn.
It took many years before the ongoing series between England and Australia could be named the Ashes.
The Ashes Over the years
Following the unlikely defeat of England by Australia at the Oval, the English Cricket team went on a dominant run that lasted from 1884 to 1896 before Australia won their second Test series.
From the 1897/1998 series which Australia won by 4-1 and the next three series Australia dominated. However, between 1905 and 1912, Australia and England were evenly matched until the outbreak of the First World War.
By the time the war ended, Australia was the more dominant team, winning both the Ashes and World Cricket Cup. During this period, England won only one Test out of the 15 that were played from the end of the war until 1925.
By the end of 1926, Australia’s ageing post-war team broke up with key experienced players leaving and new, inexperienced ones taking their place. These changes, of course, impacted their fortune in the Ashes. In the 1928/1929 series, the Baggy Greens were heavily pummeled by England 4-1.
The Ashes in the Modern Era
So, far there have 7 Ashes series between the two teams during which Australia has won 33 times, England 32 times and there have been 5 draws.
Australia has won more Ashes Tests, 134 out of 330 compared to England’s 106 wins. Australia also holds the record for the most wins in a row. Winning eight times starting from 1989 to 2002/2003 with England winning the 2005 series.
Since 2013 however, the Ashes have been won alternatively by the two teams with England winning 2013 and Australia winning the 2013/2014 series. The 2019 series ended in a draw which means Australia as holders still retains the Ashes.
With Australia opening up a lead as the overall leader with 33 wins against England’s 32 wins since the start of the Ashes, 2020/2021 Ashes promises to be high stake.
England is going into the Ashes as World Cup champions while Australia will be looking forward to maintaining their dominant run in the series for nearly 20 years.
Unibet is tipping Australia with a -200 odds to win which effectively makes them favorites. England enters as underdog at +275 odds while the odds the Ashes will end in a draw is +650.