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The Ashes 2009

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History of the Ashes

Played between England and Australia, the Ashes is a Test cricket series that has been played since 1882, and is currently played every two years.

The name ‘The Ashes’ dates back an 1882 England-Australia match at The Oval where Australia first beat England on their own soil. The match was one of the closest in the history of English cricket; with England finishing only seven runs from victory. A mock obituary, written by Reginald Brooks (or ‘Bloobs’) was published in the Sporting Times, and 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.

Following this, the media hailed the next English tour to Australia as a chance to regain “The Ashes”.

On this tour, the then England captain, Ivo Bligh, was presented with an urn containing ashes, which are thought to be those of a cricket bail, ball or stump. Although the series is always referred to as the Ashes, these actual ashes are never exchanged between Australia and England. Bligh was given the urn by a group of Melbourne women and the urn had always been considered a personal gift. The urn itself now resides at the MCC at Lord’s, having been given to the club by Bligh’s widow.

Bligh undertook a campaign to ‘recover the Ashes’ on the tour to Australia in 1882-3, but following this, the term was barely used for the next twenty years. It was only once Pelham Warner, captaining the team on the 1903 tour to Australia, promised that England would ‘regain the Ashes’ that the term became repopularised.

If the Test between Australia and England is a draw, then the Ashes remain with the country currently holding them.

The 2009 Ashes

England (captained by Andrew Strauss) regained the Ashes from Australia after losing them in the 2006-7 series (where Australia triumphed with a 5-0 victory). The first test at Cardiff was a draw, while the second, at Lords, provided England with their first Ashes win at this ground since 1934. Rain affected the play at Edgbaston, but in the fourth match at Headingley, Australia soundly beat England. This left all options open for the final match at the Oval. Stuart Broad was awarded man of the match, taking five wickets for 37 in the first innnings, although Jonathon Trott’s century in the second innings also enormously helped the England team to their convincing victory. The test series was to be England’s Andrew Flintoff’s final before undergoing knee surgery.

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