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The Ashes Cricket

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by Emma Brown (subscribe)
I'm a freelance journalist and public relations consultant specialising in arts and entertainment.
Ashes urn
The Ashes urn is reputed to contain a burnt cricket bail.

Watch Australia battle it against and the old enemy in the Ashes fifth and final test at the SCG in one of the biggest contests in world sport.

The game's oldest rivalry is reborn with injured players, pitch favouritism claims, sledging, controversy that Australia can't win then in a dramatic turnaround answered their critics with victory in Perth makes the 2010/2011 Ashes one of the most unpredictable and exciting sporting tournaments ever.

The Test cricket series between the mother country and Australia is international cricket's most celebrated rivalry and dates back to 1882.

The tournament is played biennially, alternately in each nation's home ground in the summer against a backdrop of atmospheric full houses - both teams supported by large and boisterous contingents.

This season is particularly heartfelt for Australia who lost the last series with England the current trophy holders. However, in the history of the tournament Australia has dominated the elite play as the most successful side winning 33 titles with Donald Bradman scoring the most runs of 5,028 and Shane Warne the most wickets of 195.

The off-field costumes, mexican waves, mimicking players, Barmy Army antics and umpire and player sledging by the crowd often rivals the action on the green.

The Barmy Army, die hard English cricket fans, invades Australian shores every four years since Mike Atherton's 1994-95 assualt to support England across Australian at each of the Ashes venues.

According to Wikipedia: "The Ashes is cricket's Stonehenge. Its origins are obscure. It was standing when we got here, and will outlast us all."

To find out more about the history of Australian cricket and behind the scenes stories take a tour of the SCG.

Even if you don't understand the rules it's not an Australian summer till you enjoy a day as a spectator at the cricket with the Ashes the most exciting, fiercely-contested and passionate of international cricket events.

Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke (Pup) is the Australian vice captain

According to the History of England website: "The series started from a sarcastic newspaper comment in 1882, when Australia beat England for the first time on English soil, at The Oval, a cricket ground in London, just south of the Thames. The Sporting Times published a mock obituary that announced the death of English Cricket in 1882, stating that "the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia". When the English test team toured Australia in the next-but-one Australian summer, the English papers talked about "the quest to regain The Ashes".

Ashes obit
The mock obituary that started the Ashes

Taking the joke to extreme lengths, some Australian women presented the then-English cricket captain with an urn, containing ashes, variously said to be the ashes of wickets, bats, or bails. The captain's widow later gave the urn and ashes to the Marylebone Cricket Club at Lord's test cricket ground, where it remains to this day."

Book tickets here.

Ashes captains
England Captain Andrew Strauss and Australian captain Ricky Ponting head onto the pitch for the toss.
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Why? Enjoy the iconic summer sporting event the Ashes.
When: 37 January
Where: Sydney Cricket Ground, Driver Avenue, Moore Park, Sydney
Cost: Ticket prices vary, Adults from $130 - $57, Concession / Pensioner $77 - $34, Juniors $57 - $19
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