A look at Edgbaston’s Ashes history as England and Australia prepare for opener

A look at Edgbaston’s Ashes history as England and Australia prepare for opener

Edgbaston is the venue for this week’s Ashes opener and has been a happy hunting ground for England over the years, though they will be out to avenge 2019’s loss to Australia.

England have won six and drawn five of their 15 Tests against Australia in Birmingham, losing four, while they have 29 wins there overall and only 10 losses.

Here, PA looks back at the ground’s Ashes history.

Results

Australia celebrate their 2019 win at Edgbaston
Australia celebrate their 2019 win at Edgbaston (Mike Egerton/PA)

Edgbaston welcomed the touring Australians for the first time in May 1902, when the rain helped the visitors to a draw despite having been bowled out for 36 in their first innings.

They lost by 10 wickets seven years later on their last visit until 1961, when Australia’s Neil Harvey and England’s Raman Subba Row and Ted Dexter all made centuries in a high-scoring draw.

The 1968 Test was also drawn before, in 1975, Australia inflicted England’s first ever loss in 17 Edgbaston Tests by an innings and 85 runs.

England won in 1981 and by an innings in 1985, captain David Gower with a double century. The decade concluded with Australia dominant in a draw in 1989.

Mark Waugh made 137 and 62 not out in a 1993 eight-wicket win for Australia and after Nasser Hussain’s double-century led England to a nine-wicket win in 1997, the tourists enjoyed another innings victory in 2001.

England won an unforgettable 2005 clash and, after a draw in 2009, won 2015’s encounter by eight wickets but will need to bounce back from a nightmare defeat in 2019.

Steve Smith hit twin 140s before England were bowled out for 146, spinner Nathan Lyon with six wickets as an opener and Pat Cummins four, to lose by 251 runs.

The West Indies won four times at Edgbaston between 1984 and 2000 with South Africa and New Zealand the other visiting teams to beat England there.

Jones…. Bowden

The 2005 Ashes thriller stands tall for England at Edgbaston. Regarded by many as the greatest Test ever played, England won by two runs after Australia almost chased an improbable 282 to win.

Buoyed by Glenn McGrath injuring himself in the warm-ups, England raced to a first-innings 407 and had a lead of 99 after cleaning up Australia. Andrew Flintoff then clubbed 73 to set the target before taking a memorable four for 79.

Australia were 137 for seven but Shane Warne fought back with 42 before treading on his stumps to give Flintoff his fourth wicket, and Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz produced a last-wicket stand of 59 which looked to be pushing Australia to a shock win and a 2-0 series lead.

Umpire Billy Bowden, though, deemed Steve Harmison had Kasprowicz caught behind by Geraint Jones, leading the great commentator Richie Benaud to simply say “Jones… Bowden” as the England celebrations unfolded.

The handshake that followed as Flintoff dropped down to meet a devastated Lee on his haunches has become an indelible image in Ashes history.

Barmy Army

England’s superb Edgbaston record runs alongside the fantastic support they get at the ground.

The Hollies Stand is one of cricket’s most vibrant places to watch the sport from and will witness the first Ashes airing of England supporters club the Barmy Army’s new chant for Stuart Broad, written to the tune of Abba’s Voulez-Vous.

Broad’s long-time rival David Warner is likely to be a prime target in his final Ashes but the Barmy Army’s first Test guide stresses the need to avoid personal abuse.

“We seek to be entertaining when singing and creating songs, not use offensive language and have good clean fun,” the document reads, adding that membership can be removed “without notice” from any fan who oversteps the mark.

Edgbaston heroes

Stuart Broad, centre, celebrates taking the wicket of Australia’s David Warner at Edgbaston in 2019
Stuart Broad, centre, celebrates taking the wicket of Australia’s David Warner at Edgbaston in 2019 (Mike Egerton/PA)

England’s long-time opening bowling pair James Anderson and Stuart Broad have enjoyed tremendous records at Edgbaston and are the leading two wicket-takers at the venue.

Anderson, expected to be fit after sitting out the warm-up game against Ireland, will look to add to his 51 wickets at an average of 22.62 in 13 previous Tests at Edgbaston. That includes six for 47 and five for 80 against Australia in 2015 and 2009 respectively, with another five-wicket haul against India last year.

Broad took five for 51 against Ireland at Lord’s last week and has 43 wickets at 24.06 in 10 Edgbaston Tests including an Ashes five-for in 2019.

Joe Root averages over 60 with the bat in 13 Test innings there, with four half-centuries – including 63 and 57 in the 2015 and 2019 Ashes respectively – and two hundreds.

Warner averages just 22.25 in two Edgbaston visits but England will be wary of Smith’s average of 75.25 at the ground.