England dismissed Australia for 263 on day four of the fifth Ashes test to complete a 135-run victory. After defeat at Old Trafford confirmed the urn would return to Australia, England bounced back to end a summer of incredible cricket drama on a high.
It is the first drawn series since 1972 and means Australia haven’t won a series in England since 2001. When the Ashes next return to England it will be two decades. England are unbeaten at home for the last five-years. Even though they drew the series, there is no extra-time or penalties like in football; instead, the team that holds the Ashes going into the tournament keeps the trophy.
Trevor Bayliss will now stand down as England head coach after four years in charge. Current captain, Joe Root said of the departing Bayliss: “Trevor is brilliant. He has added a huge amount to this Test team. He’s been involved in some fantastic series wins, both home and away.
“What he’s done in white-ball cricket is phenomenal. He’s got a great sense of humour and will never give you anything. We all played for him this week and we’re really pleased to send him off in a great fashion.”
Steve Smith, Australia, moved up to second place for most test runs in a series since 1990 with 774 runs over the five tests. He received the Australia player of the series award, saying: “It meant a lot. It has been an amazing couple of months of cricket here in England. The cricket has been spectacular, there has been some terrific cricket played. I have loved every minute, and I have been really proud to have contributed and help bring the urn home.”
The first test match between Australia and England was in Melbourne, Australia in 1877. However, it wasn’t until 1882 when the series became known as the Ashes. After a momentous defeat at the Oval, Reginald Shirley Brooks, a writer for the Sporting Times wrote a mock obituary of English Cricket ending it with N.B.—The body will be cremated, and the ashes taken to Australia.
Ivo Bligh, the England captain at the time promised ‘to recover those Ashes’ Australian media caught on after he spoke of the Ashes several more times. However, it wasn’t until 1902 when Sir Pelham Warner, MBE, AKA ‘the Grand Old Man’ of English cricket used the same promise that the term stuck, and the Ashes were born.
The symbol of the Ashes, the Urn, is a 6-inch terracotta jar with its own unique mythology. There are many tales dating back to 1882 with theories about who presented the first urn and what is inside it. One account says Lady Clarke, wife of W. J. Clarke who entertained the English on tour, found a little wooden urn, burnt a cricket ball and put the ashes into it. Another story is that the urn was presented to Lord Darnley before 1921 by residents of Melbourne.
In 2006, the MCC official accompanying the urn said it was 95% certain that the urn contains the ashes of a cricket ball.
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