England’s cricketers are just two days away from facing one of the toughest battles as they prepare to take on Australia in Australia for the 72nd Ashes series.
In the world of cricket, it is England’s biggest prize to beat Australia and vice versa. The first recorded test between these two ancient rivals took place in 1877 and just a few years later in 1882, the term ‘the Ashes’ was used for the first time.
England’s test captain, Ivo Bligh, travelled with his team across the waters to bring back the ashes of English cricket to English soil in 1882 and ever since, whenever the two teams face each other in a Test series, the countries are fighting to hold on to the precious urn.
In the 71 times the two sides have played each other, Australia have won 33 times, England 32 and there have been six draws.
Who won the first Ashes test?
The first officially recorded Ashes test took place in Australia in 1882 and followed on from Australia’s visit the previous year where they beat England on English soil.
In the Sporting Times the next day, a mock obituary was written which ended with the damning line “The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”
Bligh took his team to Australia the following winter and stated he would return with ‘the Ashes’.
Bligh’s team won the three match series 2-1 and were therefore able to bring home the ashes.
Australia did not win the Ashes until England travelled down under for the 1891/2 series and the Aussies were able to regain the Ashes, winning 2-1.
How many times have England won?
Out of 71 series, England have won the Ashes 32 times, with their latest win coming in 2018.
England won the first eight Ashes tests before Australia recorded their first Ashes victory in 1892, after which England won the next three series.
The longest spell England have gone without winning the Ashes was between the 1986/7 series which took place in Australia, and England won 2-1, and 2005.
The 20 year gap saw Australia completely dominate the iconic series and it wasn’t until Michael Vaughan’s team famously came to the scene that England were able to claim back the Ashes once more.
England lost the following series but then won the next three before the Aussies fought back for the urn in 2013/14.
How many times have England and Australia drawn?
When a series is drawn, the urn is retained by the previous series winners. In 2019, the Ashes were drawn 2-2 in England but as the previous winners of the 2017/18 series were Australia, they were able to keep the trophy.
The series has been drawn a total of six times.
The series was first drawn in 1938. The second time was in 1962/63 and was then drawn on two consecutive series in 1965/66 and 1968.
It was drawn once again in 1972 and it wasn’t until nearly 50 years later that the series was drawn once more.
In 2019, the second test match, which took place at Lords, was drawn due to bad weather which resulted in a 2-2 series end.
England v Australia’s Ashes record since 2000
- 2001 Australia in England : Australia 4 - 1 England
- 2002/03 England in Australia: Australia 4 - 1 England
- 2005 Australia in England : England 2-1 Australia
- 2006/07 England in Australia : Australia 5-0 England
- 2009 Australia in England : England 2-1 Australia
- 2010/11 England in Australia: England 3-1 Australia
- 2013 Australia in England : England 3-0 Australia
- 2013/14 England in Australia: Australia 5-0 England
- 2015 Australia in England : England 3-2 Australia
- 2017/18 England in Australia: Australia 4-0 England
- 2019 Australia in England : Australia 2-2 England
England will play their first test match on Wednesday 8 December at the Gabba, Brisbane. The match will be available to watch on BT Sport.
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