It's hard to believe that anyone at the Sporting Times newspaper imagined how their mock obituary for English cricket, after England's first Test loss at home to Australia in 1882, would resonate down the years.
It concluded by saying: "The body will be cremated and the ashes taken back to Australia."
And so began a tradition of acerbic commentary on the fortunes of the England cricket team by British journalists, sometimes comic, sometimes serious, which reached its height over a hundred years later in 1986.
Martin Johnson wrote then of a side struggling to get its act together in their early tour matches in Australia: "There are only three things wrong with the English team - they can't bat, they can't bowl, and they can't field."
But just as England returned to winning ways in 1882/83 after being 'buried' so too did Mike Gatting's men regroup 104 years later to retain the Ashes in Australia.
But Australia have been the dominant side in Ashes history, winning 131 Tests to England's 97 with 88 draws.
They were especially commanding after World War I, winning three straight series and, under Warwick Armstrong completing the first Ashes whitewash in 1920/21.
England did though regain the Ashes in 1926 under Percy Chapman although they had to recall 48-year-old Wilfred Rhodes to help them win at The Oval.
Chapman then led one of England's best sides to Australia, his team winning the Ashes 4-1 in 1928/29 during a series where Wally Hammond scored 905 runs.
That series also saw Don Bradman make his debut for Australia and it was not long before the right-hander was rewriting batting records.
How to stop Bradman became an obsession for England and it led then captain Douglas Jardine to devise a strategy of short-pitched fast bowling directed at batsmen's bodies.
Bodyline, with Harold Larwood the main instrument of Jardine's plan, was employed to devastating effect on the 1932/33 tour of Australia where England regained the Ashes 4-1
But the series led to a diplomatic crisis which threatened Anglo-Australian relations.
Australia, under Bradman's leadership, regained their poise and they also won the first Ashes after World War II in 1946/47.
And in 1948 a team led by Bradman and featuring such greats as Neil Harvey and star all-rounder Keith Miller swept all before them in such style they became known as the 'Invincibles' after winning the Test series 4-0.
The only downside for Bradman was that, needing just four runs for a Test average of 100, he was bowled for a duck by Eric Hollies in his final innings at the Oval.
England eventually ended 20 years of Australia domination when they regained the Ashes on home soil in 1953 under the leadership of Len Hutton, their first professional captain.
Hutton then led England on a victorious tour of Australia in 1954/55 where fast bowlers Frank Tyson and Brian Statham starred before, back in England, off-spinner Jim Laker's 19 wickets at Old Trafford helped England win the 1956 series.
Australia though won on home soil in 1958/59 although the series was overshadowed by accusations that Australia quicks Ian Meckiff and Gordon Rorke were 'throwers'.
During the 1960s, Australia retained the Ashes but series between cricket's two oldest rivals became characterised by a succession of 'bore draws', with only 10 out of 25 matches between the two sides that decade yielding a winner.
England did, under the shrewd leadership of Ray Illingworth and with Geoffrey Boycott and John Snow playing leading roles, regain the Ashes in Australia in 1970/71.
Australia, with Ian Chappell at the helm, drew the 1972 series in England and then unleashed the pace of a fit-again Dennis Lillee and the unheralded Jeff Thomson on an unsuspecting England in Australia.
But as the decade came to a close, with cricket under the shadow of Australian businessman Kerry Packer's breakaway World Series, England won successive Ashes series.
Then came one of the most memorable Ashes campaigns of all in 1981 when all-rounder Ian Botham turned the series on its head after being stripped of the England captaincy.
England, after Australia won in 1982/83, enjoyed successive home and away Ashes wins before their rivals, under the gritty captaincy of Allan Border won 4-0 in England in 1989.
It was the start of 16 years of Australian Ashes domination, with players such as Stephen Waugh, Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath all proving thorns in England's side.
The 21st century brought no immediate change before England, upping their game and riding their luck, won 2-1 in 2005.
But it was a short-lived succcess with a ruthless Australia crushing a lacklustre England 5-0 in 2006/07.