The Ashes is a Test cricket series played between England and Australia. The series have varied in length, consisting of between one and six Test matches, but since 1998 have been reliably five matches. It is one of sport’s most famous rivalries and dates back to 1882. It is generally played biennially, alternating between the United Kingdom andAustralia. Australia are the current holders of the Ashes, having won the most recent series.
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Although the first Test series played between England and Australia was in the 1876 77 season,[note } the Ashes created from the solitary Test which the two nations contested in 1882. England lost the match, played at The Oval, and a mock obituary was posted in The Sporting Times, declaring the death of English cricket. It stated that: “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia. The Honourable Ivo Bligh adopted the term and, as captain of the English party that travelled to Australia the following winter, promised to bring the “Ashes” home.
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After their loss to Australia in 1882, England won the next eight series between the two sides, during which time they lost only four of the 22 Tests. Australia won an Ashes series for the first time in 1891–92, when they beat England 2,1. The 1932–33 tour was known as the “Bodyline series” as, in response to the talented Australian batsman Don Bradman, England developed a tactic of bowling quickly at the body of the batsmen with most of the fielders placed in a close ring on the leg side.England won the series.
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But the tactic provoked changes to the laws of cricket, and the Australians, buoyed by the batting of Bradman,regained the Ashes during the next series and then held them for six series, spanning nineteen years. It was during this period that the Australians travelled to England in 1948, and remained unbeaten during the whole tour, gaining the nickname of “The Invincibles”. In addition to winning the five match Test series 4–0, Australia won or drew all of their 29 other matches against county and illustrative sides.