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1948 Ashes

The 1948 Ashes series was the first tour by Australia to England after the ravages of World War II. Starting on 10 June 1948, England and Australia played five Tests. Australia were led by Donald Bradman on his last tour and were strong favourites to retain the Ashes as the team contained a good balance.

The England team were led by the amateur Norman Yardley in the dying days of the divide with professionals. Although it had several notable players such as Len Hutton, Denis Compton and Alec Bedser, England were unable to match Australia. The final result was a 4–0 series win for Australia.

Two of the most remarkable feats were when Australia had a record 404-run chase on the final day of the Fourth Test at Leeds with Bradman and Morris smashing centuries. In a first class game, Australia scored a world record 721 runs in a single day against Essex.

The Australians were the first and only team to remain undefeated on an entire tour of England, earning them the label of "The Invincibles"; That’s 34 matches without a loss, with 25 wins and nine draws.

One of the most momentous incidents from Ashes history was Bradman’s second-ball duck as he was bowled by Eric Hollies in his final Test innings at the Oval which ensured his average was 99.94, just four runs short of a three-figure average.

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1948 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 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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