The Ashes is a Test Series played between England and Australia, with each country hosting the series alternately. The Ashes holds a great significance in the history of cricket as it marks the first instance when the dominance of England in cricket was ended. At present, an Ashes series consists of 5 Test matches which are played alternately in England and Australia.
Origin of The Ashes : England - Australia Rivalry
The term Ashes has an interesting story on its origins. On 29 August 1882, the Australian team was playing against England at The Oval. It was a difficult track to bat on and the Australian team ended up scoring only 63 runs in the first innings and 122 runs in the second innings. As it was their home turf, the English were expecting a nice and easy victory. However, Fred Spofforth from the Aussies, took down 14 wickets in the match, with his last 4 wickets coming within a 2-run interval, causing England to come down on their knees. The final attack was made by Harry Boyle who took the tenth wicket even before they could reach the target and hence they dominated the English team even after being dominated throughout the match.
On the next day, the newspapers called it a death of the English Cricket and personified it as a dead man who was to be cremated. Since it was believed that the Ashes of the English Cricket were now with the Australians, the captain of the team, Ivo Bligh, touring to Australia in 1882-83 said he would bring back the Ashes, which at the same time was vowed to be protected by the Australian captain, Billy Murdoch.
Later on that tour, some women of Melbourne gifted the English Captain an urn with Ashes of a Cricket Bail. One of those Melbourne women was Florence Morphy who later on married Bligh, the English Captain within the year. The urn was a personal gift to him, but after his death it was given to the English Cricket Board. This is how the term Ashes was kept alive all these years and is of great significance when it comes to cricket between Australia and England.
The Ashes Trophy
The Ashes, as is a symbol of great significance for either team requires a bigger prize as a symbol of victory. Hence, the winning team is presented a replica of the original Ashes urn. This urn is made up of terracotta like the original urn and is about 11 cm tall. Along with this small urn, a trophy is also presented to the winning team, which is a bigger replica of the Ashes Trophy and is made up of Waterford Crystal. Both the trophies are rolling trophies and the winner takes both of them home as their Ashes award and surrender them before each Ashes series. The crystal trophy came into existence in 1998-99 series and was first presented to the Australian captain Mark Taylor.
The Ashes Award
Another major award that is associated with the Ashes is the Compton Miller Medal, which is a medal presented to the Man of the Series in Ashes. The medal was inaugurated in 2005 and Andrew Flintoff was the inaugural holder of the medal. This medal commemorates the two cricket legends of Australia and England. i.e. Keith Miller and Dennis Compton.
The Ashes Prize Money
However, it is interesting to note that despite being a series of such importance to both Australia and England, no cash prize is awarded to the winning team officially in the prize distribution ceremony after the tournament. However, the National Cricket Board of the Ashes winning team usually rewards the players with Ashes Prize Money in their individual capacities.
1) What is the England vs Australia test series known as?
The test series played between England and Australian cricket teams is called as The Ashes.
2) What are the Ashes made of?
The original Ashes Trophy or the urn contains the ashes of a cricket bail.
3) What is the Ashes trophy size?
The size of the Ashes trophy is about 11 cm in length and is a replica of the original Ashes urn.