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1932/33 Ashes

England toured Australia in the summer of 1932/33 to play five Test matches. The tourists won back the Ashes convincingly by four games to one in one of the most acromonious series of all time.

The tour was highly controversial because of the Bodyline bowling tactics used by the English captain Douglas Jardine. The plan hatched in England with the help of Percy Fender and Arthur Carr, was to specifically limit the extraordinary batting skill of Australia's Don Bradman. In the prior 1930 series, Bradman had plundered a record 974 runs off their attack but had shown some tendency to flinch at the fast rising delivery. When Jardine instructed his two fast bowlers Harold Larwood and Bill Voce to bowl Bodyline, it had the effect of lowering Bradman's extraordinary batting to an average of 53 during the series. Gubby Allen, an amateur fast bowler, refused to bowl Bodyline.

Australian skipper Bill Woodfull's physical courage and dignified leadership won him many admirers. He did not employ retaliatory tactics. When the English team manager and former captain Plum Warner visited the Australian dressing room to express his sympathies during the 3rd Test in Adelaide, Woodfull's famous response meant to be private, but leaked to the press was "I don't want to see you, Mr Warner. There are two teams out there, one is playing cricket. The other is making no attempt to do so".

 

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1932/33 Ashes

The Ashes: A brief history (28 June 2013)

The first Test match was played between England and Australia in 1877 at the MCG. The Ashes legend started 5 years later, after the ninth Test, played in 1882 at the Oval in London.

The third Australian team to tour England in 1882 achieved the unthinkable. Until then, the English had never been beaten on home soil, but Australia led by by WL "Billy" Murdoch shocked England, with the legendary WG Grace in their ranks, lost by seven runs with Aussie fast bowler Fred Spofforth taking 14 wickets for 90 runs.

The following day, a mock obituary ran in the Sporting Times "in affectionate remembrance of English cricket, which died at the Oval on 29th August, 1882". 

During the next tour to Australia in late 1882, a small terracotta urn was presented to the England captain Hon Ivo Bligh by a group of Melbourne women, led by Lady Clarke, after a friendly game that was played at Sir William Clarke's Rupertswood manor in Sunbury, Victoria. The contents of the urn are reputed to be the ashes of an item of cricket equipment such as a bail, or scarf, depending on which legend is true.

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