The Ashes Test | A Dive Into The History Of The Ashes

The history of the Ashes traces back to 1882 when England lost to Australia for the first time on home soil. Since then, it has become one of the most popular and followed sporting events in Australian and British sporting history. It’s no wonder that Ashes tickets sell like crazy, the rivalry between these two teams and their supporters is historic. 

In the beginning 

The term was coined after the famous match in which the Sporting Times wrote a mock obituary for English cricket post-match, the conclusion reading: “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.” The concept caught the attention of cricket fans from London to Melbourne. 

After a few weeks had passed the English team, captained by the Hon Ivo Bligh (Later lord Darnley) took off for Australia, vowing to return home with “the ashes”. The Australian Captain, WL Murdoch also vowed to defend them. 

The teams played three scheduled matches and participated in many social matches as well. After Bligh led his team to victory in two out of the three matches, a group of Melbourne women, including his then future wife Florence Morphy, presented the now-famous Ashes Urn to him. The contents in the urn were said to be ashes of a wooden bail.

Bligh kept this urn that he considered a personal gift for over forty years, until his death. At his request, it was given to the MCC. The urn itself was never used as an official trophy in the Ashes series, but replicas of the urn have been held up by winning teams as a symbol of their victory.  During the 1998-99 series a Waterford crystal replica of the urn dubbed the Ashes Trophy was presented to the winning side as the official trophy and has been used ever since.

The Ashes over the years

For about two decades after the first tour in 1882-83, the Ashes was largely forgotten and was only revived after the 1903-04 series when the captain of the English side, Pelham Warner, wrote a book about the tour titled ‘How we recovered the Ashes’. From then on, the series between Australia and England would be known as The Ashes.

For many years the Ashes have symbolically travelled back and forth between Australia and England. After WWI Australia gained a stronghold on the Ashes, but the 1932-33 series in Australia saw England regain them, which featured the ‘bodyline’ tactic, in which England’s fast bowlers often targeted the bodies of the Australian batsmen instead of the stumps. It was all in an attempt to lessen the effectiveness of Australia’s greatest player, Sir Donald Bradman. The tactic is still talked about within the world of cricket today.

This success though would be England’s last victory until the 1950s. Australia held a strong dominance over the English side from the end of WWII until 1953. Throughout the 1960s, Australia held victory and then by the next decade England stole back the Ashes. 

In 1977 the two sides took part in an unofficial Ashes Centenary Test in Melbourne, 100 years after the first meeting. In an astounding coincidence, the margin of victory for Australia – 45 runs – was the same as it had been in 1877. 

The next couple of decades saw yet another tug of war between the sides, with Australia coming out on top in the end, continuing their hold on the Ashes until 2005. 

The Ashes Now

In 2006 Australia briefly took back The Ashes, but the next year England regained their hold until 2013. The last seven years have seen The Ashes go back and forth, with 2019 ending in a draw. 

Get your Ashes tickets now

In the 136 years since its inception, it’s been calculated that The Ashes have been held by Australia for roughly 80 years and England for around 55 years. Time can only tell if the Aussie side will keep this margin going. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness history, with the 2021-22 series nearing closer you can get your ashes tickets right here and right now. You won’t want to miss out!