The Ashes 2019
As the oldest rivalry in cricket, The Ashes has been played between England and Australia since the 1880s. The two nations take it in turns to host the event, with the 2019 five-Test series due to begin on 1st August. The winner will receive the famous Ashes urn.
The tiny trophy is reputed to contain the ashes of a burned cricket bail. At only 11cm high, the terracotta urn was the result of a heavy loss suffered by the England cricket team at the hands of Australia, at Kennington Oval in London on 29th August 1882.
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Following the match, a mock obituary mourning the "death" of English cricket, written by Reginald Shirley Brooks, appeared in the Sporting Times newspaper. It stated the "body" (the match ball) would be cremated and the ashes would be taken to Australia.
The England cricket team went on a tour of Australia during the 1882/83 season. Team captain Ivo Bligh vowed to "bring the Ashes of English cricket" back with him. During the tour, three Test matches were played. Australia won the first in Melbourne, but England won the second (also in Melbourne) and the third in Sydney.
Following a subsequent friendly match in Sunbury, Australia, Bligh was indeed presented with the Ashes and brought them back to England with him. A label saying "The Ashes" has been pasted on to the urn. Thus the tradition of the Ashes Test series began.
The two countries take it in turns to host the five-Test series, usually every couple of years. The victor keeps hold of the Ashes urn until the next tournament.
This year marks the 71st Ashes in the series. With England fresh from their momentous victory in the recent Cricket World Cup, expectations are running high!
The most recent Ashes took place in Australia during the winter of 2017/18. It was a disastrous Test series for England, who suffered a crashing defeat. David Warner's unbeaten 87 led Australia to victory in the first Test in Brisbane. In Adelaide, Shaun Marsh's unbeaten 126 led to a second defeat for England.
This set the tone for England and handed the Ashes back to Australia after the visitors failed to win one Test, although they managed a draw in Melbourne as a result of Alastair Cook's unbeaten 244.
It was a miserable tour and the England team will be looking for revenge on the back of their world cup win. The last time England won the Ashes was in 2015, when they were the host nation, beating Australia 3-2.
The Ashes 2019
The 2019 Ashes takes place between 1st August and 16th September. The First Test is at Edgbaston from 1st to 5th August; the second is at Lord's from 14th to 18th August; the third is at Headingley between 22nd and 26th August; the fourth is at Old Trafford from 4th to 8th September; and the fifth and final Test is at The Oval from 12th to 16th September.
When England won the cricket world cup, an audience of 8.3 million television viewers saw their dramatic victory against New Zealand in the final. TV chiefs hope the new-found public enthusiasm for cricket will be rekindled when it comes to the Ashes.
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Good luck, England!