Eng v Ind Ashes 2005

Published on August 1st, 2018 | by Guest Writer

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How good have England been at Edgbaston?

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“That Edgbaston continues to remain the least-featured English ground remains a surprise”

19th-century England had five Test grounds – The Oval, Old Trafford, Lord’s, Trent Bridge, and Headingley – in that order. Edgbaston completed the sextet, in 1902.  This might have to do with the fact that Warwickshire were never one of the more ‘glamorous’ English counties.

Indeed, they were rarely considered seriously till they broke through the shackles by winning the County Championship in 1911 under Frank Foster, the first time a county outside the Big Six – Kent, Lancashire, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, Middlesex, and Surrey – achieved this.

Edgbaston has hosted the fewest Tests among the six major English grounds – a mere 50. This is somewhat counterintuitive, as England have done way better at Edgbaston than anywhere else in the country.

 

England at major home grounds (10-Test cut-off)
Ground City Played Won Lost W/L
Edgbaston Birmingham 50 27 8 3.375
Old Trafford Manchester 77 28 14 2.000
The Oval London 100 41 22 1.864
Lord’s London 134 53 32 1.656
Headingley Leeds 76 33 25 1.320
Trent Bridge Nottingham 61 22 17 1.294

Note: England have also played 6 Tests at Chester-le-Street, 3 at Cardiff, 2 at Southampton, and 1 at Bramall Lane

Even if one uses a 21st-century cut-off, Edgbaston still features second on the list, next to only Old Trafford.

 

England at major home grounds in 21st century (10-Test cut-off)
Ground City Played Won Lost W/L
Old Trafford Manchester 13 9 1 9.000
Edgbaston Birmingham 15 9 3 3.000
Lord’s London 37 19 8 2.375
Trent Bridge Nottingham 16 9 4 2.250
The Oval London 18 9 5 1.800
Headingley Leeds 16 8 7 1.143

But that is not all. England’s outstanding record at Edgbaston is one of the best for any country.  That The Gabba is the Australian stronghold is well-known. Almost always do Australia schedule the first Test of the series at Brisbane. Unfortunately, England do not seem too keen on doing the same.

 

Greatest strongholds in Test history (20-Test cut-off)
Team Ground City Played Won Lost W/L
Pakistan National Stadium Karachi 41 21 2 10.500
South Africa SuperSport Park Centurion 23 18 2 9.000
Australia The Gabba Brisbane 60 38 8 4.750
England Edgbaston Birmingham 50 27 8 3.375
Sri Lanka Galle International Stadium Galle 31 18 7 2.571
Sri Lanka Sinhalese Sports Club Colombo 42 20 8 2.500

Note:  The best win-loss ratio at any overseas venue is for Australia at Lord’s (2.428 from 38 Tests; 17 wins, 7 defeats)

But how have touring teams fared in various English grounds? Has any team stood out at a ground? As mentioned above, Australia do have an excellent record at Lord’s, but what about other grounds?

 

Win-loss ratio by touring teams vs England at Edgbaston vs other venues
Team At Edgbaston At other English venues
Played Won Lost W/L Played Won Lost W/L
West Indies 10 4 3 1.333 76 26 31 0.839
Australia 14 3 6 0.500 152 46 45 1.022
South Africa 6 1 2 0.500 62 13 18 0.722
Sri Lanka 2 2 0.000 16 3 6 0.500
New Zealand 4 4 0.000 50 5 26 0.192
India 6 5 0.000 51 6 25 0.240
Pakistan 8 5 0.000 45 12 18 0.667
Zimbabwe 4 3 0.000
Bangladesh 4 4 0.000
Excludes neutral Tests

As is evident, every single touring team (barring West Indies) have a pathetic record at Edgbaston. It is surprising that England do not host more Tests there.

As for West Indies, their four wins came in consecutive Tests at the ground, during their golden run between 1984 and 2000, when they always had a group of world-class fast bowlers.

Australia did not win a Test here till 1975. South Africa’s only win came here in 2008, in their sixth and last attempt.

That Edgbaston continues to remain the least-featured English ground remains a surprise.

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