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article imageSports' oldest rivalry is on again

By Keegan Valladares     Nov 20, 2013 in Sports
Brisbane - Australia and England have been showcasing their rivalry on almost every sporting stage for over a century. But no sporting competition is as intense or long standing as the Ashes Test Cricket series. The latest series begins today at Brisbane’s Gabba.
The Ashes as a nameplate was born when England were defeated on home soil by Australia for the first time in test cricket in 1882. A British journalist described it as the death of English cricket and that “its body would be cremated and the ashes taken back to Australia.” This went on to spawn the idea of possessing the Ashes and the competition to capture this national price between Australia and England was born. Since then an Ashes series has been played on average every two years, with the location alternating between Australia and England.
The trophy that Australia and England play for is an urn, which has somewhat of a mysterious past. It is said have been given to the Honorable Ivo Bligh, then England captain, on England’s 1883 tour of Australia by a group of Australian women. However its contents have not been verified with certainty. The most common belief is that it contains the ashes of a bail, but some stories suggest it holds the ashes of a cricket ball or a woman’s veil. The urn is only 15 centimeters tall or slightly less than 6 inches, making it one of the world’s smallest sporting trophies. It is now so fragile that it remains at the Lord’s cricket ground museum, with a replica usually presented to the winner of any given series.
Possession of the Ashes has fluctuated between countries for over a century. Throughout the 90s and early 2000s Australia’s dominance in world cricket saw it hold the Ashes for the longest consecutive run of either country. However the last three series have been won by England and now this Australian squad faces becoming the first to lose four straight since the 1800s. This series, taking place in Australia, involves five test matches. After the Gabba test the teams will travel to Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne for the traditional Boxing Day test, followed by the final test in Sydney.
The first test is underway with Australia winning the toss and electing to bat first.
More on the great sporting rivalry between Australia and England can be read here.
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