Birth of the con­cept

Central Leader - - SPORT -

The term ‘‘Ashes’’ was first used af­ter Eng­land lost to Aus­tralia – for the first time on home soil – at The Oval on Au­gust 29, 1882.

A day later, the Sport­ing Times car­ried a mock obituary of English cricket which con­cluded that: ‘‘ The body will be cre­mated and the ashes taken to Aus­tralia’’.

The con­cept caught the imag­i­na­tion of the sport­ing pub­lic.

A few weeks later, an English team set off to tour Aus­tralia vow­ing to re­turn with ‘‘the ashes’’

As well as play­ing three sched­uled matches against the Aus­tralian national side, the team par­tic­i­pated in many so­cial matches.

It was af­ter one such match on Christ­mas Eve 1882 the English were given a small ter­ra­cotta urn as a sym­bol of the ashes that they had trav­elled to Aus­tralia to re­gain.

To­day the tiny, del­i­cate and ir­re­place­able arte­fact re­sides in the Mary- le­bone Cricket Club Mu­seum at Lord’s. In the 1990s, recog­nis­ing the two teams’ de­sire to com­pete for an ac­tual tro­phy, MCC com­mis­sioned an urn-shaped Water­ford Crys­tal tro­phy.

This was first pre­sented to Mark Tay­lor af­ter his Aus­tralian side emerged tri­umphant in the 1998-99 test se­ries against Eng­land.

Since then, the tro­phy has been pre­sented to the win­ning cap­tain at the end of each Test se­ries be­tween Aus­tralia and Eng­land.

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