The Ashes 2023: how small is the urn? Words written on Ashes trophy, what do victors receive for Test series win?

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The Ashes is a small terracotta urn presented to the winner of the Test cricket series between England and Australia

The 2023 Ashes is underway with England hoping to win back the precious urn from their fiercest competition, Australia.

The last series, which took place in the winter of 2021/22, saw Australia dominate and take the series 4-0. However, this series England fans are filled with much more hope with the revival of the team and introduction of ‘Bazball’. Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have revitalised the team and now have just two losses from 12 Test matches compared to the one win from 17 England had managed before.

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While England will hope to secure their first Ashes series win since 2015, Australia will look to solidify on a remarkable Test season which saw them most recently win the ICC Test Championship after beating India by over 200 runs.

England need to win the series to claim the Ashes while a draw will be good enough for Australia - this is what they're playing for...

How small is the Ashes urn?

The Ashes, a small terracotta urn presented to the winner of the Test series, stands at little more than 10 centimetres tall and is believed to contain the ashes of a burnt cricket bail.

The Ashes urn: England vs Australia trophy The Ashes urn: England vs Australia trophy
The Ashes urn: England vs Australia trophy | NationalWorld Graphics: Mark Hall

The Ashes urn was presented as a personal gift to then England captain Ivo Bligh during the 1882/83 series in Australia. Australia had beaten England the previous summer at the Kensington Oval which The Sporting Times newspaper had fun with.

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In the days after, as a sense of dismay remained, a 'death notice' of English cricket appeared in the weekly publication. It read: "In Affectionate Remembrance of English Cricket, which died at the Oval on 29th August 1882.

"Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances. R.I.P. N.B. - The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia."

Prior to leaving for Australia, Bligh vowed to bring back "The Ashes of England cricket." England won the series 2-1.

What is written on the Ashes urn?

There are two labels pasted on the Ashes urn. The top label simply says "The Ashes" while the bottom label is a six lined verse cut out from the Melbourne Punch magazine of 1 February 1883.

It reads: "When Ivo goes back with the urn, the urn;

"Studds, Steel, Read and Tylecote return, return;

"The welkin will ring loud,

"The great crowd will feel proud,

"Seeing Barlow and Bates with the urn, the urn;

"And the rest coming home with the urn."

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Where is the Ashes urn now?

Following Ivo Bligh's death, the Ashes urn was presented to the Marylebone Cricket Club in 1929 and has been held in Lord's ever since. A replica is presented to the winners of the Ashes series.

Who has won the most Ashes series?

The 2023 Test cricket series in Australia will be the 73rd edition of the Ashes.

England will be desperate to get their hands on the Ashes urn to reclaim the honour and level up the all-time statistics. Australia have won the Ashes 34 times, England have won the series 32 times and there have been six draws so far.

Australia were able to retain the Ashes in their last away series after drawing 2-2 and won them once again following their 4-0 demolition of the England line-up in the Australian summer of 2021/22.

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