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The Ashes Trivia Quiz

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The first Test match, as defined by historians of cricket, was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in March, 1877 between teams representing Australia and England. Australia won that first game of the two-game series, and England went on to win the other. The following year, an Australian team (see photograph below) toured England, but no official Test matches were played. In 1880, England hosted their first Test against Australia, and won. Two years later, however, the Aussies returned to England and won the single two-day Test match in what was afterwards recognized as the first Ashes series.

1878 Australian cricket team in England

Superb studio shot of the 1878 Australian cricket team in England, a few years pre-Ashes
Back: Jack Blackham, Tom Horan, George Bailey, Dave Gregory, John Conway (manager), Alec Bannerman, Charles Bannerman, Billy Murdoch; Front: Fred Spofforth, Francis Allan, William Midwinter, Tom Garrett, Henry Boyle
Picture from Wikimedia Commons (photographer unknown)

Australia’s saviour in that 1882 contest was a fast bowler named Fred Spofforth, whose likeness in the photo above we have pulled out as the icon of this quiz. Spofforth’s bowling turned what had been a very bad game for Australia into an even worse one for England as their batting line-up underwent an unexpected and undignified collapse. It was a turnabout so shocking that the papers called it “the death of English cricket”. The Ashes were supposed to be its remains. Fortunately, the reports of death were somewhat overblown, and the two countries have contended every second year ever since, pausing only for warfare. The official prize is the notoriously small and dowdy Ashes trophy, which is so delicate that it actually remains in England regardless of who wins. Whether you’re a committed cricket fan or merely cricket-curious, we hope you give our Ashes Quiz a try, and remember to play fair.

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