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History of the Ashes: First Class Cricket at its Best

Fantasy Cricket

Fantasy Cricket is a game where participants manage their Virtual teams, which means that they are the Owner and the coach of their virtual team. These virtual teams or commonly referred to as Fantasy Teams compete with other Fantasy Teams to see who the winner is. Fantasy cricket helps us to reflect our love as fans for the sport. Fans are always complaining about what player should have been selected for the team.

MPL Fantasy Cricket app provides us with the opportunity to showcase our cricket knowledge and earn bragging rights over our peers and friends. In MPL Fantasy cricket we have to create our very own teams and points will be rewarded on the basis of the player’s real-life performances. MPL makes fantasy cricket available for all range of games including international Test and ODI matches to even domestic games.

The Rich History

England and Australia are two of the biggest powerhouses in cricket. Having a rich history in the game, the rivalry shared between both of these two sides makes up probably the biggest rivalry in the cricketing universe. The Ashes makes up the most intense sporting rivalry between them. The historic Test cricket competition was first contested in 1882 which is before the Modern Olympics. The competition started after a British newspaper mourned the demise of English cricket after they lost to Australia, who were their colonial subjects, in England itself. The article read that the body of English Cricket will be cremated and the Ashes would be taken to Australia. This famous headline proved to be the catalyst for the biggest ever cricketing rivalry.

The Ashes

The Ashes urn is a 6-inch tall trophy and has the ashes of a burnt cricket bail. There have been 335 tests played between both of these sides with Australia winning 136 times and England winning 108 times and the rest being draws. Australia has just one more series win with them winning 33 times compared to England’s 32.

After the famous defeat to Australia, the then English captain Ivo Bligh promised the media that he would, “recover those Ashes”. He spoke about the “Ashes” several times across the tour and hence the media caught on with that particular term. England, however, won the series 2-1 which helped put up a smile across the Englishmen. The term “Ashes” had fizzled down in popularity since then. However, in 1903 there came the true revitalisation of the word when Pelham Warner, the captain of England, wanted to regain “The Ashes”. The Australian media held on to this word tightly and since then the word has not lost significance.

Popular Ashes Series

The Ashes has given us plenty of memorable moments. Let’s look at the few series which stand out the most.

The 1932/33 series

In this particular series, the most important intention of the Englishmen was to stop the flamboyant Don Bradman. A phenomenal player, Don Bradman had an average of 99.94 which is proof of how good of a player he was. Getting desperate, the English captain Douglas Jardine decided that the only way to stop Bradman was by bowling short with a packed legside. The fast-bowler Harold Larwood was given the duties to spearhead this attack and this tactic certainly paid the dividends. England won the series 4-1 with Bradman’s average being 56.57 throughout the series.

This tactic, however, enraged the Australians. Their captain Bill Woodfull who was considered to be a calm person famously said, “There are two teams out there. One is playing cricket, the other is not an attempt to do so”. Soon the Australian Prime Minister had to jump in to calm the Australian team and to prevent any harm to the Anglo-Australian relations.

The 1948 series

This biggest talking point about the series was yet again Don Bradman. He needed only 4 runs in his final test innings to get a perfect score of 100 as his average. However, fate had different things planned out for him with Eric Holies getting Bradman out for a duck.

However, the Australian team set new standards for themselves after completely playing England out of the park. Nicknamed The Invincibles, the Australian team which played a total of 34 matches in the entire tour won 27 times and drew 7. The team was very well-liked and record audiences greeted the team in flocks. They set record attendances at Lord’s and Headingley.

The 1981 series

This was the Ashes where Ian Botham made a mark for himself. After Mike Brearley decided to retire, the captaincy was given to Ian Botham. However, Botham’s captaincy started wrong with England losing the first test at Nottingham and then Botham registered two ducks in the next match at Lord’s. Botham was hence removed/resigned as the captain with ex-captain Brearley returning.

Botham did prove his mettle throughout the series. His battling 149 not out meant that he gave . Fast-bowler Bob Wilis, however, managed a figure of 8-43 giving England an 18 run win. Botham starred in the fourth test too with England winning by 29 runs. In the fifth test, Botham yet again scored 118 which resulted in a 103 run win for England.

The 2005 series

Undoubtedly the best Ashes of all time, this saw England winning over Australia after nearly 19 years. Australia began the series with absolute aplomb by winning the first test by 239 runs.

However, injury to Australia’s best bowler, Glenn McGrath meant that England were in this series with a shout. England however, struggled to remove Australia’s, last man and managed a very tight win with the difference being two runs. The third test was a draw and England managed an easy win in the fourth test.

The last test was an absolute edge of the seat thriller with England looking straight at defeat, which would also mean a series win for Australia. However late resistance from Giles and a fabulous 158 from Kevin Pietersen  meant England would be talking the spoils this time around.

Current squads

Let’s look at both of the teams and how they are faring in 2019.

English Cricket Team

England in 2019 is led by Joe Root in the longer format and Eoin Morgan leads for the limited-over formats. The team features players of all ages with veterans like James Anderson and Stuart Broad still being an indispensable part of the squad and youngsters like Jofra Archer and Sam Curran.

Ben Stokes is probably the biggest superstar of this England team. He single-handedly won the World Cup 2019 for England with his heroics salvaging a draw with New Zealand in the CWC final. Stokes probably one of the best summers any sportsman could ever imagine after his heroics in the Ashes. With England staring down at defeat Stokes scored a brilliant 135 not out  with some mind-blowing shots. His miraculous performance gave England drew the series level. He was even nominated and won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and has been a fan favourite for not only English cricket fans but also cricketing enthusiasts all across the world.

Joe Root is yet another one of the most important players for England. The test captain for England has gone from strength-to-strength since 2014. He’s considered to be a member of the “Fab 4” which includes the best batsmen of this generation, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson. Taking over the Test captaincy in 2017, Joe Root has proved himself as a very able and competent captain with impressive performances in pressure situations. His pressure soaking ability can be seen with his impressive performances in World Cups. He finished as the fifth-highest run-scorer in CWC 2019 and England’s highest run-scored in 2015 CWC.

The English team has had a brilliant summer in 2019 with winning the World Cup and managing to draw the Ashes (However it meant that Australia would be going home with the trophy). Since the closely fought Ashes, the English team along with the Barmy Army went for a tour in

. They played a 5 match T20 series and two test matches where they managed to win the T20 series with a margin of 3-2 with the winner being decided by a super over. However, New Zealand romped past England in tests with an innings and 65 runs win in the first test and a draw in the second test match.

England will be then going over for a full series in South Africa, which will begin from the 26th of December. The tour will involve 4 test matches, 3 ODIs and 3 T20s.

The Baggy Greens

The Australian Cricket Team is led by Tim Paine for Test matches and Aaron Finch being the Australian captain for the limited-overs format. The team is full of superstars all around with bashing players like Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.

The names that shine out the most from the team are of Steve Smith and David Warner. Surrounded by the 2018 sandpaper controversy where both of them and Cameron Bancroft were found guilty of ball-tampering with sandpaper. Smith and Warner both were handed out a 12-month ban and Bancroft a 9-month ban. However, controversies aside there is no one who can doubt the cricketing abilities of both of these cricketing giants. The best test batsman of this generation, Smith started his career as a leg spinner and all-rounder. However, his resurgence started from the 2013 Ashes where he showed the whole world that he was primarily a batsman and gave birth to Smith 2.0. Since then, Steve Smith has plundered runs left and right and was also given the Test captaincy, which was later stripped because of the sandpaper controversy. A World Cup winner, Smith was one of the best batsmen throughout the 2015 CWC and had a major role in Australia winning it.

When it comes to bowling Australia has one of the most dangerous fast-bowlers in the planet in Mitchell Starc. One of the most menacing sights for even the best batsmen Starc’s career has been full of injuries which have hindered him to reach his true potential. After a stint in England, Starc returned full of venom and zest. Soon, not only was he Australia’s best ODI bowler but also he was making a mark for himself in Test cricket and the T20 version too. He was undoubtedly the best bowler of the 2015 CWC after he picked up a massive 22 wickets  in the tournament. 2015 was his golden year and he managed to pick up the highest wickets in 2015 with managing 85 scalps . He probably won’t finish on the leader boards for the highest number of wickets taken but Starc on his day can easily scare the toughest oppositions present.

The Australian team had a mixed 2019. Boosted by the return of Steve Smith and David Warner, Australia went into the tournaments as absolute favorites for the CWC 2019. However, they were outclassed by England in the semifinals shattering their dreams to retain the World Cup. It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Australia though as they managed to win the Ashes in England. Steve Smith had a heroic Ashes series which will go down in history books where he managed to score 774 runs in 7 innings at an average of 110.57 .

It was then followed by a T20 series against Sri Lanka where they whitewashed the hosts. Next came Pakistan who were thrashed by the Aussies. They won the T20 series convincingly and also won both the test matches by a margin of more than one innings.

Currently, it’s New Zealand who will be playing them for the Chappell-Hadlee trophy. Australia are leading the three-match series by 1-0. After that, they will play 3 ODI matches in India and 3 ODI matches in South Africa.

MPL Team
MPL Team - Enjoy reading gaming, fantasy, poker, and rummy articles by the MPL team on the MPL blog.


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