The Ashes LIVE on Kwesé Sports
The Ashes LIVE on Kwesé Sports
The Ashes, which began in 1882, is the world's oldest international sporting rivalry and cricket's most famous contest. Two nations, with much colonial baggage, trade bouncers and insults for the sake of a small wooden urn filled with fake ashes. Kwesé Sports 2 brings you all the action of this five-match series LIVE, with added highlights, magazine inserts and more.
After his victory at Waterloo the commander of the British force - Wellington - was purported to have said, "The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eaton." Team sports plays a major role in the mythology of England, as much a game as a metaphor for how life should be lived and wars should be fought. As an English colony Australia inherited the British obsession with sport, and particularly cricket. The Aussies love their cricket and none more so when their beloved 'Baggy Greens' are handing the Poms a hiding.
Since 1882 England and Australia have contested a five-match cricket series called 'The Ashes'. It all began when Australia beat England in that year and a newspaper (The Sporting Times) carried a mock obituary to English cricket, "...which died at the Oval" and whose, "...body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia." And thus the term entered sporting folklore.
In 1882 it was unheard of for a mere colony to beat England at their own game, but since then Australia have come to dominate the game, with England often having to play the underdog role. Remarkably, while Australia have won 141 tests to England's 108, the two nations are tied on 32 series each. But when you factor in that England won eleven of those series in the 19th century, it's clear that in modern times the Antipodeans have ruled, particularly in the 90s when they were spearheaded by the likes Waugh, Warne and McGrath.
But in recent times the English have had better luck, winning five of the seven series since 2005. But now they find themselves 1-0 down in Australia and in need of some fighting spirit. Twice in the past ten years they've lost 5-0 in Australia and must stop the rot before it’s too late. England are missing star all-rounder Ben Stokes, who is facing criminal charges for assault. Another ginger-haired bruiser, English wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow, was accused by his opposite number Cameron Bancroft of head-butting him by way of greeting. Verbal jibes and one-upmanship, known as 'sledging' in cricketing parlance, is very much part of the Ashes. The Australians used the incident to unnerve Bairstow at the crease. The ploy worked in the first test, with Bairstow playing a rash shot to get out.
And now things have become even more heated, with Bancroft and Aussie skipper Steve Smith laughing about the headbutt incident at the post-match press conference. English Skipper Jo Root is determined to use the incident as motivation going into the second test, saying, "Well if that's not motivation to the players I don't know what is." Nobody likes being laughed at, and England will be itching to have the last one.
In an unprecedented break with tradition, the upcoming second test (starting 2 December at 5:00 CAT on KS2) is a day-night one, dubbed a 'pink-ball test'. The Adelaide Oval is hosting the Ashes' first day-night encounter. Two hundred thousand tickets have been sold, and cricket lovers across the world await a cracking contest. Catch every ball LIVE on Kwesé Sports.