Author(s): Rob Smyth
From the celebrated mock obituary following England's first-ever defeat by Australia on home soil in 1882, to the on-pitch insults (or 'sledges') of today, Ashes cricket has spawned nearly as many memorable quotes as it has balls bowled and runs scored. GENTLEMEN AND SLEDGERScharts the ebb and flow of Anglo-Australian cricketing fortunes across 131 years and 314 matches by telling the stories behind 100 memorable Ashes quotations. From fast bowler Jeff Thomson's classic 'I enjoy hitting a batsman more than getting him out. I like to see blood on the pitch' in 1975, to Michael Clark's notorious advice to Jimmy Anderson to 'get ready for a f****** broken arm' in 2013, the quotations embrace quips, insults, examples of the dark art of sledging - and even the occasional considered cricketing judgement. Evoking memorable moments and matches as well as highs and lows in the careers of Australia and England's greatest players, GENTLEMEN AND SLEDGERS is an informal, freewheeling, discursive and entertainingly opinionated history of the Ashes.
Rob Smyth is a Guardian and Telegraph sports journalist and the author of The Spirit of Cricket: What Makes Cricket the Greatest Game on Earth, and the co-author of Danish Dynamite: The Story of Football's Greatest Cult Team.