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"In affectionate remembrance of English Cricket, which died at the Oval on 29 August 1882... The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia" read the mock obituary written by Regina Shirley Brooks for the Sporting Times. There! That is the origin for the Ashes legend. Since then, there have been 71 Ashes series. A five-match series played between Australia and England each year. One of the team hosts the other in their home soil.
Attempts to embody the Ashes were made in the early 1880's. The most well-known is the version where Ivo Bligh, later Lord Darnley, is presented with the Ashes urn by a group of Victorian ladies in a presentation on 1882. No photographs of the urn emerged before 1921, when the Illustrated London News published it. Till the death of Darnley, the urn wasn't known to the outside world. The urn is shaped like a small cup and its fragility led to it being kept as an exhibit at the MCC Cricket Museum. A larger replica of the urn, known as the Ashes trophy, was first awarded to the winning side in the 1998-99 Ashes series. Though the urn symbolizes the legend and is a cultural artifact, many young people don't know what ties them to the Ashes. The engaging play coupled with the storyline reaches millions in a positive way.
Crossing 71 editions, the Ashes is a tough series to breakthrough. The results are almost a tie, Australia has won 33 games and England has won 32 games. Six draws happened have happened over the years. During the early eight years, England absolutely dominated winning them all. The eras after that saw the Ashes urn change hands every few years till 1989. Australia ruled the 1990's till the 2002-03 edition. The winner of the series takes the trophy home. If the series is drawn, the previous series winner retains the trophy.