Ponting: the Ashes just keep getting bigger

The Ashes are about much more than a traditional spat between a mother country and one of her former dominions – with all that entails. They can rescue Test cricket.

Events of the next six weeks are expected to be viewed around Planet Cricket and if all goes according to plan they will give another fillip to a game that is constantly fighting decline. The Ashes of 2005 did Test cricket its biggest favour since its inception and while a reprise would be ridiculous to expect, there is no doubting the responsibilities of both England and Australia.

"I actually feel it has got bigger and bigger, the last few series in particular," said Australia's captain, Ricky Ponting. "Although we didn't like losing in 2005, I think it has led to a regeneration of Test cricket all round the world. It was an amazing series of cricket for anyone to be part of. From that moment on, every series we have played has just grown and grown and grown to the point where God knows how long we have been talking about this series in Australia. You have just got to look around this room here and see the excitement in all your eyes as well, and sold-out crowds is a great sign for Test cricket."

The first three days of each of the first three matches have sold out. Cricket Australia are breathing a huge sigh of relief that England remain such a draw since they need the money.

Andrew Strauss, the England captain, said: "Everyone is looking for Test cricket to show its potential and why we love it so much. If there is interest there that can only be good for us as players going out there to represent our country."

Before the series started, Strauss and Ponting were pictured holding the Ashes urn, or at least a replica – the real thing was secured, as always, in its glass case at Lord's, from where it will never be moved.

Four years ago the urn, under heavy security, did a tour of Australia, provoking calls that it should stay in the country of the holders. They were naturally ignored. Ponting, asked if the holders should look after the Ashes, said: "Why not? That would be good. I know there was a lot made of it last time, about how far it was but I'm sure with the technology available they can do something to make sure it's safe on a journey across the world."

The question is purely academic, though when pressed Strauss sided with MCC on the fragility issue. "I think it's at the home of cricket for a reason," he said. The captains went about their business briskly, though Ponting refuted any suggestion of frostiness between them.

"Not frosty, not at all," he said, though he did not claim mutual eternal friendship. "I was at Sydney airport flying up here and we bumped into each other there. We have known each other a long time, played a lot against each other and I guess been lucky enough to captain a lot of games. It was businesslike as you'd expect, two captains showing respect for each other and their teams doing what we have to do."

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Life and Style
The spring/summer 2015 Louis Vuitton show for Paris Fashion Week
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?