The Ashes: Cricket's big tournament explained

Last updated at 10:38
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WATCH: The big players to look out for in The Ashes 2017

Australia completed a 10-wicket victory over England in the first Ashes Test on the fifth morning in Brisbane.

It's the latest in one of the longest-running rivalries in sport.

But, what is it all about?

The Ashes is the name given to a special cricket series involving England and Australia.

The two nations meet roughly every two years, with the winners claiming one of the most famous (and smallest) trophies in sport, the Ashes urn.

The Ashes is held alternately in England and Australia, with Australia hosting this time in December and January (Australia's summer). They play a series of five test matches, each lasting up to five days.

Why are they called The Ashes?
Sporting TimesGetty Images
It all started with a joke article in a newspaper

The story of the Ashes began way back in 1882 when England were beaten at home for the first time by Australia.

The series defeat shocked the sporting world at the time, and prompted The Sporting Times newspaper to print a joke story on the 'death of English cricket'.

The newspaper said English cricket would be burnt down and the ashes sent to Australia.

When England next toured Australia those ashes became real - a pair of bails were burned and the ashes put into the now famous urn.

The winning players are given a replica to celebrate with, as the real trophy is far too fragile.

Who's the best?
England won the Ashes in 2015Getty Images
England won the Ashes in 2015

England are the current holders of the Ashes. They won the last series 3-2, back in August 2015.

Overall, Australia and England have won 32 series each, and five series have been drawn. So, this Ashes is a particularly important one!

Australia have dominated the tournament in recent history though. The Baggy Greens, a nickname given to the Aussies thanks to the caps they wear on their heads, won the series 5-0 in 2013/2014 and 2006/07.

And, they were utterly dominant for nearly 20 years before that, winning nine out of the ten series played. That's why there was such a huge fuss when England finally won it back in 2005.

Players to watch
Joe Root playing 2012 INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images

England captain Joe Rootis one of the top players to watch out for.

The 26-year-old batsman took over as captain earlier this year, and this will be his first overseas series as skipper.

The pressure will be on, but since taking over as captain, he has averaged more than 60 runs in Tests. That's pretty good.

He broke records in 2013 when he became the youngest England player to score a century in an Ashes match at Lord's in London.

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England bowler James Anderson will be leading his side's attack.

He's England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker, and has been a key player in previous Ashes series victories.

Although, at the age of 35, this could be his last tour of Australia.

Aussie captain Steve SmithGetty Images
Aussie captain Steve Smith will be hoping to lead his team to victory

Australia's captain Steve Smith is his team's top batsman.

Like his opposite Joe Root, he is still fairly new to the role and will be leading Australia for the first time in Tests against England.

But, he's one of the best batsman in the world, and has scored 20 centuries in 56 test matches.

Mitchell Starc is the Australian bowler, England need to watch out for.

From eight Tests against England, Starc has picked up 29 wickets. He can be handy with the bat too, adding crucial runs late on for his team - he already has nine half-centuries to his name.

Do the women's team play?
Australian Ellyse Perry with the new women's Ashes trophyGetty Images
Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry with the new women's Ashes trophy

The women's teams play a version of the Ashes too.

The first women's Test series between England and Australia - the first women's Test series anywhere - was played in 1934-35.

The contest was not officially called "the Women's Ashes" until 1998, when an autographed bat was burned before the first Test at Lord's, and the ashes were placed inside a cricket ball to make a trophy.

In 2013, a new Women's Ashes trophy was produced.

The Women's Ashes is decided from a mix of matches - Tests, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 International matches as well.

Danielle Wyatt of England takes a catch in the latest Ashes tournament in AustraliaGetty Images
Danielle Wyatt of England takes a catch in the latest Ashes tournament in Australia

Four points are awarded for victory in a test match (two each for a draw), and two points for winning a One Day or Twenty20 match.

The Women's Series have been played every two years since 2001.

Australia won the trophy during the 2015 series, which was played in England.

And, the latest Ashes in Australia has just taken place throughout October and November, with the teams finishing tied overall.