Why do they call it "The Ashes"?
Australia have been the top team in world cricket for so long now, it’s hard to believe that once, back in 1882, England’s cricket team were the greatest in the world. They had never been beaten in their own country, and with the legendary W.G. Grace in the side they were almost invincible.
So when the Australian team came to tour, everyone thought it would be an easy win for England, but the Australians achieved the unthinkable by narrowly beating their “Mother Country” by 7 runs, with fast bowler Fred Spofforth having the game of his life taking 14 wickets for only 90 runs. It was a huge shock.
Of course, the Australian newspaper the Sporting Times was quick to rub it in. It printed a mock obituary "in affectionate remembrance of English cricket, which died at the Oval on 29th August, 1882". It added: "The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia."
The burnt remains from one of the bails from the game was put into an urn and presented to the winning captain. These “ashes” are still the prize whenever England play Australia in a test series, although the tiny urn is always kept safely at Lords cricket ground - whoever wins.
By the way, England had the last laugh by winning back “the ashes” on the next seven occasions when the two teams met, including the first home test series in 1884.