Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The small terracotta urn believed to have a burnt bail ashes  
The Ashes one of the bigger reasons for cricket to be the second most popular game in the world...........It is one of the most celebrated rivalries in international cricket and is currently played biennially, alternately in England and Australia.

Reason to be played : The series is named after a satirical obituary published in a British newspaper, The Sporting Times, in 1882 after a match at The Oval in which Australia beat England on an English ground for the first time. The obituary stated that English cricket had died, and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia. The English media dubbed the next English tour to Australia (1882–83) as the quest to regain The Ashes.

During that tour a small terracotta urn was presented to England captain Ivo Bligh by a group of Melbourne women. The contents of the urn are reputed to be the ashes of an item of cricket equipment, a bail. 

 Replicas of the urn are often held aloft by victorious teams as a symbol of their victory in an Ashes series, but the actual urn has never been presented or displayed as a trophy in this way. Whichever side holds the Ashes, the urn normally remains in the Marylebone Cricket Club Museum at Lord's since being presented to the MCC by Bligh's widow upon his death.

About that match :

         On their tour that year (1882) the Australians played just one Test, at The Oval in London. It was a low-scoring affair on a difficult wicket Australia made a mere 63 runs in its first innings, and England, led by A. N. Hornby, took a 38-run lead with a total of 101. In their second innings, the Australians, boosted by a spectacular run-a-minute 55 from Hugh Massie, managed 122, which left England only 85 runs to win.
The Australians were greatly demoralised by the manner of their second-innings collapse, but fast bowler Fred Spofforth, spurred on by some gamesmanship by his opponents, refused to give in. "This thing can be done," he declared. Spofforth went on to devastate the English batting, taking his final four wickets for only two runs to leave England just eight runs short of victory in one of the closest and most nail-biting finishes in the history of cricket.

When Ted Peate, England's last batsman, came to the crease, his side needed just ten runs to win, but Peate managed only two before he was bowled by Harry Boyle. An astonished Oval crowd fell silent, struggling to believe that England could possibly have lost to a colony. When it finally sank in, the crowd swarmed onto the field, cheering loudly and chairing Boyle and Spofforth to the pavilion.

colonists) to get the runs. Peate humorously replied, "I had no confidence in Mr Studd, sir, so thought I had better do my best."
The momentous defeat was widely recorded in the British press, which praised the Australians for their plentiful "pluck" and berated the Englishmen for their lack thereof. A celebrated poem appeared in Punch on Saturday, 9 September. The first verse, quoted most frequently, reads:

Well done, Cornstalks! Whipt us
Fair and square,
Was it luck that tript us?
Was it scare?
Kangaroo Land's 'Demon', or our own
Want of 'devil', coolness, nerve, backbone?

On 31 August, in the great Charles Alcock-edited magazine Cricket: A Weekly Record of The Game, there appeared a mock obituary:


On 2 September a more celebrated mock obituary, written by Reginald Brooks under the pseudonym "Bloobs", appeared in The Sporting Times. It read:

In Affectionate Remembrance
which died at the Oval
29th 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.

 Bligh promised that on the tour to Australia in 1882–83, which he was to captain, he would regain "the ashes". He spoke of them several times over the course of the tour, and the Australian media quickly caught on. The three-match series resulted in a two-one win to England, notwithstanding a fourth match, won by the Australians, whose status remains a matter of ardent dispute.
The true and global revitalization of interest in the concept dates from 1903, when Pelham Warner took a team to Australia with the promise that he would regain "the ashes". As had been the case on Bligh's tour 20 years before, the Australian media latched fervently onto the term, and, this time it stuck. Having fulfilled his promise, Warner published a book entitled How We Recovered The Ashes. Although the origins of the term are not referred to in the text, the title served (along with the general hype created in Australia) to revive public interest in the legend. 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.

After their loss to Australia in 1882, England won the next eight series between the two sides, during which time they lost only four of the 22 Tests. Australia won an Ashes series for the first time in 1891–92, when they beat England 2–1. The 1932–33 tour was known as the "Bodyline series" as, in response to the talented Australian batsman Don Bradman, England developed a tactic of bowling quickly at the body of the batsmen with most of the fielders placed in a close ring on the leg side. England won the series, but the tactic prompted changes to the laws of cricket, and the Australians, buoyed by the batting of Bradman, regained the Ashes during the next series and then held them for six series, spanning nineteen years. It was during this period that the Australians travelled to England in 1948, and remained unbeaten during the whole tour, gaining the nickname of "The Invincibles". In addition to winning the five match Test series 4–0, Australia won or drew all of their 29 other matches against county and representative sides .
Australia have won more Ashes Tests than England, winning 123 of the 310 matches, compared to England's 100 victories. They have also won more Ashes series than England, winning on 31 occasions, once more than England. There have been five drawn series, and on four of these occasions, Australia have retained the Ashes due to being holders going into the series. England have retained the Ashes after a drawn series once. On only two occasions has a team won all the Tests in an Ashes series; Australia won all five matches in 1920–21, and then repeated the feat in 2006–07. England's largest winning margin in an Ashes series was in 1978–79, when they won 5–1. Both England and Australia have held the Ashes for eight series in a row, England doing so between 1882–83 and 1890, while Australia achieved the feat from 1989 to 2002–03.