Ashes, the

Definitions

Cricket

  • noun the competition between the national cricket teams of Australia and England, or the title held by the current champions in this competition. The Ashes are regularly contested in Test series played in both countries, and change hands only if the current holders lose a series. The Ashes do also exist as a physical entity (see below) but these are permanently housed at Lord’s irrespective of which country currently ‘holds the Ashes’. The name originates from a mock obituary published shortly after England’s first-ever defeat by Australia on English soil, when magnificent bowling by Spofforth (who took 14 for 90) carried Australia to a dramatic 7-run victory.
    Citation ‘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’ (Sporting Times 2 September 1882)
    See also urn
  • noun the competition between the women’s cricket teams of Australia and England, or the title held by the current champions in this competition. Although the first Test series involving these teams was played in 1934, the competition became officially known as the Ashes only in 1998.
    Citation ‘Mollie Dive, who led the Australians, had the distinction of wresting the Ashes from the English team for the first time’ (Cashman &Weaver 1991)
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