The first cricket match between England and Australia was in Melbourne dating all the way back to 1877, but the concept of ‘the Ashes’ was not created until 1882. The term dates back to a satirical article published in the British ‘The Sporting Times’ daily, which “mourned” the demise of English cricket after England lost to colonial Australia on home turf for the first time with the words, “The body will be cremated and the Ashes taken to Australia”.
Since World War II, the countries usually host a five-match Ashes series every four years — for example, then England in 1997, then Australia in 1998-99, then England again in 2001. The 69 Ashes series are remarkably equal at 32 victories each with five draws even though the Aussies have a distinct edge in the total number of Test game wins — 130 to 106, with 89 draws.
More than 135 years after the concept of the Ashes came to life, the pinnacle of the sport in both countries is manifested in a rivalry. Nothing is more important than beating the old enemy.
Australia didn’t lose a single series between 1989 and 2002-03 thanks to legends the likes of Allan Border, Ian Healy, Mark Taylor, Shane Warne, the Waugh twins, Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath, and Matthew Hayden. However, England made up with five wins in the last seven series with help of excellent players like Michael Vaughan and Andrew Flintoff.
Cricket’s greatest rivalry will be back in Australia this year starting November in Brisbane.