The history of the Ashes
The story of the Ashes so far
Celebrating one of the oldest trophies in world sport
In 1882, the Australian cricket team won a test series on English soil for the first time in history.
The England team’s next test series in Australia became known as a quest to “regain the ashes of English cricket”.
England won the series and were presented with a small terracotta urn said to contain the burned remains of a wooden bail.
This historic defeat prompted a mock obituary in a British newspaper which declared that English cricket was dead and “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”.
The Ashes have been contested on a roughly biannual basis.
Since England won the first Ashes series in January 1883, they have changed hands a total of 25 times.
Jan 1883 >
< Feb 1892
Aug 1893 >
< Feb 1898
Feb 1911 >
Mar 1904 >
Australia are the current holders and have possessed the Ashes for longer than England overall.
Dates calculated from England’s first win in January 1883 to the earliest that the next series could be won in December 2021.
The Ashes have been in Australian hands for just over 79 of the 139 years that the trophy has been in existence.
< Feb 1908
< Jan 1921
Aug 1926 >
< Aug 1930
Feb 1933 >
< Aug 1934
Aug 1953 >
< Feb 1959
Feb 1971 >
< Jan 1975
Aug 1977 >
< Jan 1983
Sep 1985 >
< Aug 1989
Sep 2005 >
< Dec 2006
Aug 2009 >
< Dec 2013
Aug 2015 >
< Dec 2017
Timeline of the Ashes
Over time, the urn became the symbol of Ashes and one of the most important icons in cricket.
However it does not change hands like a trophy - the original is kept in a museum and a crystal replica is awarded to the winners of each series.
Who has won the most Ashes series?
The Ashes have been finely balanced, with only one win separating the two nations.
Who has won the most Ashes tests?
However Australia have won 28 more tests than England overall.
Who has scored the most RUNS in the Ashes?
Both nations have five players in the top 10 Ashes run scorers of all time.
Who has taken the most WICKETS in the Ashes?
Australia has six of the 10 most prolific wicket-takers, including all of the top four.
Who has made the most CATCHES in the Ashes?
England’s Ian Botham holds the record for the most catches, although the next five most prolific catchers are all Australian.