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Cricket: What Is the Ashes?

Australia and England are gearing up to go head to head in a battle over the… urn?

The Ashes may be a well-known and highly anticipated event in cricket for some, but for others – specifically those outside of England and Australia, the matches are less than noteworthy. If not rarely heard of.

Don’t be fooled by its seemingly niche existence, though. The Ashes competition is one of the most highly contested, pulse-pounding events in cricket sports today. So popular in fact that in the right circles, being able to talk Ashes about a cricket print on the board room wall could get you in good with the right people. According to the bestselling company Sport Photo Gallery, who sell not only cricket prints but all kinds of sports images, these kinds of images have gained more and more fans throughout the years. As any Ashes fan knows it’s cricket prints are a fantastic conversation piece.

Now, here’s everything you need to know about the Ashes Cricket Competition.

 Where it All Began

Back in 1886, England were trounced by Australia at their home oval. The first time ever defeat shocked the world. Bringing in roiling outrage and humble defeat from all corners. In a real original content meme, The Sporting Times newspaper printed a tongue in cheek RIP article about English football. Suggesting that the ‘death of English cricket’ had finally come to fall, and that the ashes should be sent to Australia. Not to be outdone, Australia ended up burning two bails and placing the ashes into an urn, which they then presented to England when they next toured in the country.

That urn became the trophy that was to be hotly contested for over 75 years, biennially. The original urn was finally taken out of circulation and curated in the MCC museum at Lord’s cricket ground, due to its advanced age and fragility (the original urn was terracotta). While the urn currently in use is just a replica of the original, teams still joyously contend for the coveted cup.

As of 2017, Australia still holds the prize, as they have throughout recent history. The Aussie’s dominated the tournament for 20 years strongly, until England wrestled back the urn in 2005. Since then, it’s been a bit of a push and pull between the two teams, but with England winning the World Cup this year, the country is charged and ready to have another go at bringing the Ashes back home. Of the 70 Ashes series held, Australia has won 33, with England holding 32. 5 are at a draw, so it’s no question that this year’s matches are highly anticipated.

The ladies also get a play at a version of the urn themselves, with the women’s Test series officially being referred to as “The Women’s Ashes” in 1998. Instead of bails, however, women’s teams burnt a bat and placed the ashes into a cricket ball to form their own version of the trophy.

Players Worth Keeping an Eye On

Whether you’re hoping to mount an impressive moment in cricket print, or just wanting to know who to watch, this year’s Ashes match is sure to be an exciting event.

With players like Jofra Archer, who took fans by storm by becoming the leading wicket-taker in this year’s World Cup. Bowling at speeds up to 145kph, Archer creates powerful drama in every frozen photograph. Not to mention causes some serious problems for even the most skilled batsman.

Josh Hazelwood brings the world around to Australia’s bowling prowess by taking 164 wickets in 44 matches. Evening out the playing field between the two teams.

Captain Joe Root, for England, is always a sure-fire spectacle. At just 28 years old, Root has proved himself to be an effective leader and strong all-rounder, breaking records at previous Ashes matches, by becoming the youngest player to score a century.

Australian captain Steve Smith is a smash hit, and not only for staunch Australian supported. Many consider Smith the best batsman in the world. In 2017, Smith reached a Test batting rating of 947, which puts him in the second highest rank of all time.

Whoever it is you come supporting in this year’s Ashes, it’s guaranteed you won’t be disappointed by the action brought onto the ground this year. With an age-old fiery competition and a tough bet on who will take the urn, even part-time fans of the sport are excited to see what this year will bring.

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