Summer. And that means it’s nearly time for sunny days, a nice pair of sunglasses, warmer temperatures and a nice sports event to look forward to! The Ashes is a great event between Australia and England in which their teams compete in a cricket match. It’s one to keep your eyes on as the yearly cricket event is starting quite soon on August 1st. We’ll provide you with a complete information package of The Ashes: an explanation of the event, an overview of how the game works and answering your first question: why is it called the Ashes?
What is The Ashes?
As mentioned before, The Ashes is a cricket event in which England and Australia compete for victory. The first Test match took place in Australia in 1877. However, the first match of The Ashes started after nine Test matches were played which was in 1882. That makes the rivalry between England and Australia 137 years old in which 70 series were played!
So far, the teams have been quite even in the rankings: Australia won 33 times, England 32 times and in 5 cases there was a draw. The amount of won Tests is slightly more in Australia’s favor; out of the 330 Tests they won 134, England won 106 of them and 90 of them were draws.
The event takes place every two years, this summer England will be hosting the 2019 edition. The series of five matches will start on the 1st of August and the final match will take place on the 16th of September. This year’s edition for the victory will be played on these dates:
|First Test||August 1-5||Edgbaston|
|Second Test||August 14-18||Lord's|
|Third Test||August 22-26||Headlingley|
|Fourth Test||September 4-8||Old Trafford|
|Fifth Test||September 12-16||The Oval|
Tests usually start at 11 am but of course, are subject to the unpredictable English weather.
Why is it called the Ashes?
The Ashes owes its name to an edition of the event in 1882. This was the year when Australia won its first Test cricket match on English territory. The victory caused for a British newspaper to print a satirical obituary which read:
‘English cricket has died, the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.’
After Ivo Bligh, England’s captain at the time, made a promise to recover the Ashes, the Australian media picked up on the name for the game and so the game was renamed The Ashes. Bligh, as promised, brought his team to Australia to regain the Ashes and bring them home. Against popular belief, they won the two out of three tests and were able to bring back the Ashes. This meant bringing back a small urn which supposedly contained the ashes of a bail that was used in the match. A bail is a small stick that is placed on top of the stumps that form a wicket which the batsman is supposed to protect from getting hit by the ball. Don’t worry if this doesn’t make complete sense yet, we’ll make sure to explain how to play cricket later in this article! Nobody knows exactly what the tiny urn contains but it sure is a desired artifact for both teams in the Cricket league. The original urn permanently stays in the cricket museum at Lord’s, the teams have been battling for a crystal replica since 1998/1999.
Anyway, the name The Ashes stuck around and ever since ‘the Ashes’ has been the identity of Test Cricket worldwide.
The rules of Cricket
To make this sports event even more interesting, you might want to read up on the rules of the game. Cricket is usually played in traditional white clothing and with a red leather ball.
To play a cricket match, you will need two teams. A cricket team consists of 11 players. The game is played on a big field, of which a square in the middle is called the pitch. The side of the field is called the boundary. In the pitch, the fielding team will have two players ‘bowling’ the ball to the other team’s two ‘batsman’ who will try to get the ball as far away as possible from the pitch. This ensures time for them to make runs. While the ball is out of the pitch, the batsman can make runs by running in between the wickets. A one way run between the wickets earns the team one ‘run’. If the batsman is able to get the ball over the boundary it can earn four runs or even six runs if the ball doesn’t bounce.
There are several ways for a batsman to If the wicket gets hit or the ball gets caught without bouncing, the active batsman is ‘out’. If one of the batsmen is too late in returning to his crease, he is ‘run out’. When ten players of the batting team are ‘out’ the teams switch places in the field. The team that is able to earn the highest number of runs wins the game!
Are you planning on watching the 2019 Ashes? Who do you think will earn the honor of taking The Ashes back home? Still not sure who to bet on? Here you can find the Ashes 2019 odds! Make sure to place your bets now and stay tuned for the 2019 Ashes which will take off on the 1st of August!