Retaining the Ashes; “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi” !

Cricket is an international sport however those from non-cricketing nations are often mystified by the rules and culture of the game and wonder what all the fuss is about.

One of the mysteries is the format which varies from the very short form, over in less than a full day, to the ultimate and most traditional form known as a ‘Test Match’.   A Test Match may last for 5 days and is often played as a series of up to five Test Matches to determine the winner.

The Ashes is regarded by many as the pinnacle event in cricket; a test between traditional rivals England and Australia and held every two years. 

Retaining the Ashes; "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi" !

The Ashes refers to the trophy; an inconspicuous small urn made of terracotta and standing only 11 cm high, believed to contain the ashes of a burnt  cricket bail.

On 29 August 1882 Australia defeated England in a cricket match played at Kennington Oval, London. There was a great deal of dismay felt by the English about this loss and a few days later a mock obituary notice appeared in the Sporting Times which read:

“In Affectionate Remembrance of English Cricket which died at the Oval on 29th August, 1882.  Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances. R.I.P. N.B.—The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”

Australia was the holder of the Ashes prior to commencing the five Test Match series being held in England during August and September.  To win the trophy England needed to win at least three of the Test matches; an even result would not be good enough. 

Australia won the first match, followed by a draw and then England won the third match.  On 8th September, day five of the 4th Test Match, Australia retained the trophy with a decisive win; 2-1 up with only one Test to be played places them in an unassailable position.

The next goal of the Australians is to achieve a series victory; any result other than a loss in the final Test will be good enough.

Once again English cricket has suffered a serious blow, although they are bound to ‘rise from the ashes’ sometime in the future as the fortunes of these great cricketing nations wax and wane. 

In the meantime if you see any Australians wearing their biggest grin, you’ll know why they may be singing: “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi” !