The Ashes is one of the most well known and exciting series of international test cricket played between England and Australia alternately in both countries. The first match of the Ashes was played way back in 1882 at the Oval in England and Australia beat England in the match and for the first time on England soil. England and Australia were the two dominant Test match playing nations for quite a few years, until as recently as the 50s, and so the series between them often defined the winners as the world’s best cricket team at that time.
The Ashes generally comprises of five test matches played at different grounds. The team which wins the series gets the Ashes trophy and if the series is drawn, the previous winner of the trophy retains it. The time gap between the series alternates between 18 and 30 months.
Since 1882, the Ashes series has been played 66 times with Australia winning the title 31 times, England winning 30 times and 5 times there were no results of the series. In terms of matches wins, total of 310 test matches have been played till now, Australian has won 123 and England has won 100 matches and remaining matches have yielded no result.
In terms of batting, Don Bradman from Australia has aggregated most runs in the Ashes with 5,028 runs with an average of almost 90. From England Jack Hobbs is the highest run getter with 3,636 runs at an average of around 54. Bradman also holds the record for most centuries which is 19 and next is Hobbs with 12 centuries.
In terms of bowling, Shane Warne from Australia has taken the highest wickets with 195 wickets and next is Dennis Lillee from Australia with 167 wickets. From England, Ian Bothom has been most successful bowler with 148 wickets.
The current winners and the holders of the Ashes trophy are England as they have won the series in both the 2009 and 2010/11 held in England and Australia respectively.
The next series will be held in 2013 in England between July 10 – August 25. The five test match series will be held at five different venues which are Lord's, Old Trafford, Trent Bridge, the Riverside Ground and The Oval. However there are speculations that the match may not be held at Lord’s and if that happens, it would first time that an Ashes match is not being held there.
The squad of Australia for the Ashes 2013 has been announced and will be led by Michael Clarke. England is yet to announce the squad for the series.
Going by the form of both the squads, Australia seems to appear weak in front of the mighty English team. In fact recently, Australia lost four match test series held in 2013 in India by 0-4 which was one of the worst defeats of Australia in very long time whereas England had won the four-match test series held in India in 2012-13 quite convincingly by 2-1.