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1938 Ashes

Don Bradman led Australia on its 1938 Ashes tour. England and Australia won a Test each, with two of the other Tests drawn and the third game of the series, scheduled for Manchester, abandoned without a ball being bowled. As holders, Australia thus retained The Ashes. Wally Hammond turned amateur to skipper England.

The main drama in the series was in the last Test at the Oval. The hosts needed to win to square the series and did so in style with opener Len Hutton batting for more than 13 hours in compiling a record score of 364. Australia could not match England's then record score of an imposing 903-7 declared to lose by an innings and 579 runs. 

In all 30 first-class matches were played, and the Australian team won 15 of them losing only to England and H. D. G. Leveson-Gower's XI. Len Hutton scored 473 runs in the series (2 centuries) in the 3 Tests that he played and Bradman made 434 runs with 3 centuries. Bill O'Reilly was the top wicket taker with 22 victims in the series.

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1938 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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