Birmingham brilliance: England’s Edgbaston winning streak

Since their dominant innings win there in the 2001 Ashes, Australia have been abject at Edgbaston, while it has quickly turned into England’s best venue.

A boisterous, partisan crowd, helpful conditions for their seamers with the red ball, and assistance for spinners with the white have combined to create a lethal cocktail for touring teams, and after a pair of vital wins there in the World Cup, they will hope that high spills over into Thursday’s Test.

Australia haven’t tasted victory at Edgbaston in any format since 2001, when current head coach Justin Langer was running the drinks, and Marnus Labuschagne had just celebrated his seventh birthday.

While plenty of Australia’s squad have experience playing at the ground in county cricket, their record is still disastrous: between them, their 17 squad members have played 52 games in all formats at Edgbaston, and have registered just five wins.

For England, meanwhile, Birmingham has proved a happy home. After the Walkabout win in the 2013 Champions Trophy, they lost three and suffered a no-result in their next four fixtures there, but ever since it has been something of a paradise for them.

Starting with an Eoin Morgan-inspired win in an end-of-season T20I in 2014, they have won 11 on the bounce at Edgbaston – and are unbeaten in Tests there since 2008.

England’s seamers have been relentless at Edgbaston across their Test careers. James Anderson has taken more wickets at only two venues – Lord’s and Old Trafford – while in 14 innings there Stuart Broad has only twice failed to take a wicket.

Chris Woakes has only played one Test in Birmingham, against Pakistan in 2016, but it is his home ground in county cricket, and he has 177 wickets at 24.03 there in all first-class cricket.

Ben Stokes snared a vital 4 for 40 at the ground against India last summer – which included the prized wicket of Virat Kohli – and in the same game Sam Curran took four first-innings wickets and won the match award for his game-changing 63.

It has been a less productive venue for Moeen Ali with the ball, with his offspin leaking runs, though he has three fifties in four innings there with the bat.

After the retirement of Alastair Cook, who made 869 runs at 57.93, England batsmen’s records at Edgbaston look less imposing.

Joe Root has enjoyed himself there, with an imposing 136 against the West Indies in 2017, and Moeen has made his usual lower-order contributions, but for the rest of the likely batting line-up it has been a different story.

Ben Stokes’ highest score in four innings in Birmingham is 21, while Jos Buttler eked out a 38-ball 9 in the 2015 Ashes, before adding 0 and 1 against India last summer.

Tellingly, three of England’s top four have never played a Test at the ground, though Jason Roy has a 95-ball 112* there alongside his two World Cup fifties, and Rory Burns averages 38.25 in first-class games at the venue.

Joe Denly, meanwhile, made 86 in a Championship match at Edgbaston in 2006 – as an opener, no less – but his subsequent 11 innings there have brought only 143 runs.

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