Urn to return down under on rare journey
The replica has been secured by Tim Paine's men, and the original trophy that seldom leaves London will also head to Australia this year
9 September 2019, 06:51 AM AEST
The last refrain for English cricket fans when they're on the losing end of an Ashes series – that the real urn remains in their possession, safe at the home of cricket in London – will be futile as the priceless object makes a rare journey abroad this summer.
The Ashes urn will follow Tim Paine's men back down under this summer, albeit a few months after they depart following the upcoming fifth Test at The Oval, as it makes its first journey to Australia in 12 years.
The delicate terracotta 'trophy' will go on display at Victoria's State Library, giving fans a rare glimpse at the embodiment of the two nations' cricketing rivalry that dates back to the 19th century.
The urn has traditionally resided at the museum at Lord's regardless of the result of an England-Australia Test series, but will be on display in the Library's 'Velvet, Iron, Ashes' exhibition from December 2019 until February 2020.
This will be only the third time the urn has travelled to Australia since it came into the MCC's possession in 1929. The urn was exhibited for less than a week during the country's 1988 Bicentennial celebrations and visited six cities in three months during the 2006-07 Ashes series.
Australia retained the Ashes after taking an unassailable 2-1 series lead with one Test to play and are now gunning for their first series win on English soil since Steve Waugh's side triumphed in 2001.
England and Australia played what is now considered to be the first men's cricket Test match at Melbourne in 1877.
The Ashes themselves came into being following England's first home defeat by Australia at The Oval in London in 1882.
Afterwards, the Sporting Times newspaper published a mock obituary of English cricket that concluded by saying: "The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia."
On England's next tour of Australia in 1882-83, a miniscule urn said to contain the Ashes of a burnt bail was presented to visiting captain Ivo Bligh.
Following his death, the urn was bequeathed to the MCC and has remained the acknowledged symbol of cricket supremacy between the two nations.
Since the 1998-99 series, however, the winning Ashes captain has been able to hold aloft a Waterford Crystal replica commissioned by the MCC.
"We are delighted to loan the Ashes Urn, a symbolic and special treasure, to State Library Victoria," MCC chief executive and secretary Guy Lavender said recently.
"The story of the Ashes Urn is one that captivates so many people around the world and the State Library Victoria's exhibition is a very fitting place for its story to be told."
State Library Victoria chief executive Kate Torney added: "We are thrilled to have the chance to bring to life the wonderful stories surrounding the Ashes tradition, which of course, began here in Melbourne."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia won by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Third Test: England won by one wicket at Headingley
Fourth Test: Australia won by 185 runs at Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval