ArticlesThe Ashes

The History behind the Ashes Cricket Series (& its Name Reason)

The Ashes Series between Australia & England is cricket’s most celebrated Test series. Ashes trophy has generally been the identity of Test cricket for so many years. It is also popularly watched by the cricketing fans of other nations.

Called cricket’s oldest rivalry, Ashes has existed for the last 137 years since its birth in 1882-83.

Normally, Ashes is conducted as a 5-match Test series, hosted alternatively in the competing nations – Australia and England.

With the World Test Championship entering Test cricket, the Ashes will be more in focus as it is played between two important competing nations.

According to the editor of India, Ashes is so popular amongst fans from other countries that it can be considered one of the most “wagered-on” Test series in the world, even in countries that have nothing to do with the matches, like India, South Africa, and more.

So why is the series named “The Ashes”?

This article will delve into the history behind the Ashes trophy and mainly, why Ashes series is called Ashes?

Let us dive into it straight away.

Why is the Ashes Series called Ashes!?

The history behind Ashes itself is an interesting one – one of the multiple reasons that make Ashes so special.

It all started with the dramatic loss of the English team on their home soil in 1882 (one-match series) against Australia, thanks to ‘the Demon bowler’ – Fred Spofforth.

Fred picked 14 Wickets in that game-7 wickets in both innings. He took his final 4 wickets for just 2 runs, leaving England short of 7 runs off their target of 85.

This loss of England against a Colony on home soil astonished English fans and the media. Especially the media took England’s loss very seriously.

On 2nd September 1882, a more celebrated mock obituary, written by Reginald Shirley Brooks, appeared in The Sporting Times.

It read:

In Affectionate Remembrance
which died at the Oval
29 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.

Inarticle 80

Referring to that, Ivo Bligh, the English captain then, before his team’s following tour (1882-83) to Australia, promised to recover those Ashes, and eventually, he did. England won that 3-match Test series 2-1.

And, yes… “England recovered their Ashes” was the headline then. Even then, it took 20 more years for the name to stick.

Pelham Warner, the English captain of the 1903 tour to Australia, mentioned the word ‘Ashes’ again, which was picked up by the Australian media.

And, this time, the name got stuck. Since then, the series between Australia and England have been regularly called the Ashes Series.

So who are the key players in the history of Ashes series?

  • Most Runs in Ashes: Don Bradman (5028 Runs)
  • Highest Average in Ashes: Don Bradman (89.79)
  • Most Centuries in Ashes: Don Bradman (19 Centuries)
  • Highest Individual Score in Ashes: Len Hutton (364) (He achieved another mind-blowing record that day, an interesting one!!!)
  • Most Runs in a Calendar Ashes Series: Don Bradman (974 Runs in 5 Test Matches 1930 Series)
  • Most Wickets in Ashes: Shane Warne (195 Wickets)
  • Highest Team Total in Ashes: England 903/7 declared at The Oval (20/08/1938)
  • Lowest Team Total in Ashes: Australia 36 All-Out at Birmingham (29/05/1902)
  • Darren Gough is the one and only player to record a hat-trick in Ashes(1998-99)

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