If anything comes close to the eccentric hype that takes place during India-Pakistan series, it is the Ashes. That is not the only similarity. This tournament is just as personal. The phrase ‘let’s go to the mattresses’ is taken very seriously during this tournament. That is seen if you take a look at how the name came about in the very first place.
THE NAMEThe first match between the two teams - England and Australia - took place in Melbourne, Australia in 1877. The legend of the Ashes began in 1882, after the ninth test. Australia toured England. It was a brilliant match. A match that Australia won on the English Soil. A match they almost lost. Dead silence took over the stadium. They could not believe their team had just lost to a colony on home soil.
On 2 September a celebrated mock obituary, written by Reginald Shirley Brooks, appeared in The Sporting Times. It read:
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.
Ivo Bligh promised to set things right and bring the Ashes back home. The story goes as such. When England next toured Australia those ashes became real - a pair of bails were burned and the ashes put into the now famous urn.
In August 1926 Ivo Bligh (now Lord Darnley) displayed the Ashes urn at the Morning Post Decorative Art Exhibition held in the Central Hall, Westminster. He made the following statement about how he was given the urn.
When in the autumn the English Eleven went to Australia it was said that they had come to Australia to "fetch" the ashes. England won two out of the three matches played against Murdoch's Australian Eleven, and after the third match some Melbourne ladies put some ashes into a small urn and gave them to me as captain of the English Eleven.The name was never mentioned again till 1899. The name then stuck. Today, the series is one of the biggest and the longest rivalry not just in cricket but amidst all sports. If you ever wondered why such a sombre meaning for a cricket tournament, here is why.
Overall Series Results
This year is rather special. The one that wins leads.
- Did you know that this popular tournament is played for a trophy that is just 4.5 inches high?
- The matches are played during the summer months of the host country. In England, the matches are played between May and September. In Australia, it’s between October and April. An easy way to denote this - cricket seasons are listed as YYYY in England, and YYYY–YY in Australia.
- India-Pakistan Rivalry is seen as the biggest of them all in the world of Cricket. The Ashes comes second. That is really saying something.
- The urn is not the official trophy. It is the replicas that are awarded after the matches. Of course.
- Since the 1998–99 Ashes series, a Waterford Crystal representation of the Ashes urn (called the Ashes Trophy) has been presented to the winners of an Ashes series as the official trophy of that series. Irrespective of which side holds the tournament, the urn remains in the MCC Museum at Lord's; it has however been taken to Australia to be put on touring display on two occasions: as part of the Australian Bicentenary celebrations in 1988, and to accompany the Ashes series in 2006–07.
- As of August 2015, England holds the Ashes, having won three of the five Tests in the 2015 Ashes series. Australia and England have won 32 series each and five series have been drawn.