The Ashes, one of cricket’s most important competitions, pits Australia and England against each other. The series has begun at Edgbaston, and the first Test is over with Australia emerging victorious by 2 wickets. There will be two Tests in London, at Lord’s and the Oval, as is customary. The remaining two Tests are scheduled for white rose and red, respectively, at Headingley and Old Trafford.
After being started in 1882, this special Test series between England and Australia has been cricket’s most historic rivalry and one of the longest-running face-offs in sport for the last 137 years. The two countries meet roughly every two years, with the winner receiving one of sports’ most famous (and smallest) trophies, the Ashes urn.
It alternates between England and Australia, with England hosting this year. Since 1877, the two men’s sides have competed in five Test matches, each lasting five days. The women’s series consists of one five-day Test, three Twenty20 matches, and three 50-over matches.
On Friday, June 16, the 73rd series kicked off at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Learn more about the history of the series and the players to keep an eye on this year by reading on.
What’s Behind the Name: Why is the series named “The Ashes”?
The tale of the Ashes began in 1882, when England was beaten at home for the first time at the Oval by Australia. At the time, the series defeat startled the Sporting world, causing The Sporting Times newspaper to issue a humorous piece about the “death of English cricket.”
According to the newspaper, English cricket would be burned down and the ashes sent to Australia. When England returned to Australia, those ashes became a reality when a pair of bails were burned and the ashes were placed in the now-famous urn. As the real trophy is far too fragile, the winning players are given a replica to celebrate with.
The original urn is now housed in the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) museum at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, more than a century later.
Who will win the Ashes?
The men’s and women’s Ashes are currently held by Australia, and it is England’s task this summer to reclaim the trophy. England’s men have not held the Ashes since 2017, and Australia has won 34 series to England’s 32, with six series drawn.
England’s men have been flying under captain Ben Stokes since losing 4-0 in their last meeting in Australia 18 months ago. They’ve won 11 of 13 Tests while playing a thrilling, attacking style that has seen them break records, hit sixes, and take wickets like never before.
Australia, on the other hand, ruthlessly defeated India to become World Champions earlier this month and is in top form.
The Australian Dominance in the Recent Years of the Ashes
In recent years, Australia has dominated the men’s game at the tournament. The Baggy Greens, so named because of the caps they wear on their heads, won the series 5-0 in 2006/07, 5-0 in 2013/14, and 4-0 in 2017/18.
A draw in 2019 kept Australia’s Ashes (to get them, you have to win them), and they won the five-match series 4-0 in 2021. The women’s team of England has not won the Ashes since 2014. So England has a lot of work to do!
Players to watch out at the Ashes 2023
The men’s series begins first, with England led by Ben Stokes, who famously helped England win the World Cup in 2019 and later that summer played one of the greatest innings of all time in the drawn Ashes series. Other key players include former captain and batter Joe Root, as well as bowler James Anderson, who, at 40, may be playing his final Ashes series.
Harry Brook is England’s latest emerging talent. He hit four centuries in his first seven Tests this winter! Australia’s squad is well-known for boasting the world’s top three batters in the Test rankings! Second place belongs to hitter Steve Smith, who is famed across the world for his style and ability to keep scoring a lot of runs. Marnus Labuschagne, his colleague, is rated higher in the world. Captain Pat Cummins is leading Australia’s bowlers.
When is the Women’s Ashes Beginning?
The women’s teams will also compete in a version of the Ashes. Heather Knight will lead England, and Meg Lanning will lead Australia. The first women’s Test series was played between England and Australia in 1934–35, and it was the first women’s Test series anywhere.
The series was not formally acknowledged as ‘the Women’s Ashes’ until 1998. A signed bat was burned before the first Test at Lord’s and its ashes were inserted into a cricket ball to make a trophy.
A new Women’s Ashes trophy was created in 2013. The Women’s Ashes are decided by a combination of Tests, One-Day Internationals, and Twenty20 Internationals.
A Test match is worth four points, a draw is worth two points, and a One Day or Twenty20 match is worth two points. Australia is the current champion, having won the Women’s Ashes in 2021/22. The first Women’s Ashes Test in 2023 begins on June 22 and continues until July 18.
So, as diehard cricket fans, we are all up for an exciting June and July.