In its 71st series, the oldest rivalry in cricket between England and Australia begins tomorrow in Edgbaston and runs all the way through until mid-September where the final test match will be played at The Oval
The two teams take it in turns to host the five-test series, usually every other year, and the winner keeps the Ashes urn. The Ashes dates back to 1882 when Australia won for the first time on English soil, at The Oval. An English newspaper at the time wrote a mock obituary to English cricket saying it had died and ‘the body will be cremated and the ashes to be taken to Australia’.
The following test series in Australia was then dubbed as an attempt to win the ‘ashes’ of cricket back, and the captain Ivo Bligh vowed to ‘regain those ashes’. A name which has stuck for over a century.
For a series which has gone on for over 130 years, the overall tally is remarkably close. In total there have been 70 series. Australia have won 33, England 32, and five have been drawn. The most recent Ashes series, in 2017-18, was won by Australia on their home turf. England were the holders, but Australia won the series 4-0, regaining the Ashes after their innings victory in the third test.
After the revelations that Australians cheated by ball tampering in their test series against South Africa in March 2018, there were questions over their fair play during the Ashes.
After being banned for a year from cricket for ball tampering, former captain Steve Smith and former vice captain David Warner are likely to endure a bad reception from England fans, who booed them during the warm up game in June.
However, England bowler Jimmy Anderson said that booing and sledging will only make them play better: “Having played against them so many times before and knowing how they respond to that kind of thing, whether it’s sledging on the field or booing from the crowd, they are going to up their performance,” Anderson told Talksport Radio.
“I understand people won’t like what they have done but it’s in the past. I would rather it’s not talked about, although I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be talked about.”
This year’s Ashes begins in Edgbaston in Birmingham, before going to Lords, followed by Headingley and Old Trafford, before the final test match at The Oval in London. Australia have not won an Ashes series on English soil for 18 years, however England will be hoping to end a big summer of cricket with the urn in their hands.
The anticipation for this year’s Ashes series seemed slightly subdued compared to previous years, especially with this summer’s World Cup which was also hosted in England and in Wales. There has been talk in recent years that the test format of the game is slowly losing momentum whilst the limited over formats seem to be rapidly growing in excitement.
However, the Ashes promises to be a month of high intensity, passion and grandeur between the two sides ranked 4th (England) and 5th (Australia) in the ICC Test Rankings, in front of sold out venues across the country.
The Fixtures List for The Ashes 2019
1st TEST: Thursday 1st – Monday 5th August 2019
Venue: Edgbaston, Birmingham
2nd TEST: Wednesday 14th – Sunday 18th August 2019
Venue: Lord’s, London
3rd TEST: Thursday 22nd – Monday 26th August 2019
Venue: Headingley, Leeds
4th TEST: Wednesday 4th – Sunday 8th September 2019
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
5th TEST: Thursday 12th – Monday 16th September 2019
Venue: The Oval, London
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