All that you need to know about the history of the Ashes

All that you need to know about the history of the Ashes

The Ashes urn is a small terracotta urn of 11 cm which is often disputed to carry a burnt bail.

Ivo Bligh
Ivo Bligh. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The Ashes, a Test series played between England and Australia is the only event in cricket that has a history to the rivalry of more than 130 years. A British newspaper, The Sporting Times along with the England media played the majority role in the emergence of the Ashes in 1882 after Australia’s first ever Test win on England soil. The newspaper stated that it was the death of England cricket as the home team lost to Australia, a team which was a put together with players from the Australian colonies.

The Australian team was on a first-class tour to England in 1882 to play against various county sides and England teams. A game between the Australians and England was arranged during the tour and was awarded Test match status. The Australian team elected to bat first in the game played at The Oval and were bowled out to just 63. In response, the home side failed to register a big score and they were bowled out for 101 by end of the first day’s play with Frederick Spofforth bagging seven wickets.

The Australians batted better in the 2nd innings as they posted 122 to set England a target of 85 runs. Though England struggled in the small chase, they stood 19 runs away from a victory with six wickets in hand. But Spofforth yet again claimed seven wickets as England were bowled out for just 77 and ended up losing by a 7-run margin. The Sporting Times later published a satirical article stating that English cricket has died and the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.

The return of Ashes to England

Ivo Bligh led the England team to Australia in the 1882/83 season for a 3-match Ashes Test series, which the visiting team won by a 2-1 margin. The 4th Test of the series wasn’t credited as an Ashes game. This tour was labelled to be England’s attempt at bringing back the Ashes. The media termed it England’s quest to regain the Ashes. Bligh was awarded a small terracotta urn by a group of Melbourne Women for the series win. Florence Murphy, one of the Women in the group that awarded the urn married the English skipper the same year.

History of the trophy

The Ashes urn is a small terracotta urn of 11 cm which is often disputed to carry a burnt bail, used in the 1882/83 3rd Test match or a burnt ball or even a burnt veil of Florence Murphy according to their daughter-in-law. The winner of the Ashes series is awarded a replica of the Ashes urn while the actual trophy, the one presented to Ivo Bligh stays in the MCC Museum at the Lord’s in England. After Ivo’s death in 1927, Florence handed over the Ashes urn to the MCC Museum.

Irrespective of which side wins the series, the urn stays in the MCC museum and visited Australia only on two occasions. In 1988, the urn was a part of Australia’s bicentenary celebrations and was again taken to Australia during the 2006/07 series.

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