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Edgbaston, Birmingham
[ ground guide ]


Edgbaston is an excellent cricket venue. It is a ground where England generally enjoy boisterous support and good results. Birmingham's central location puts the ground within easy reach for most people in the country. The pitch has been much criticised in the past - the 1995 West Indies Test was over in less than two and a half days, and the crowd were invited on to the outfield for a picnic - but has flattened out in recent years. Warwickshire, who make their home at Edgbaston, have launched a number of initiatives to encourage children into cricket, with day-night matches well supported.

After a fractured early existence, Warwickshire first played at Edgbaston in June 1886. The ground's first Test was in 1902, with Wilfred Rhodes taking 7-17 as Australia were skittled for 36. In the days where England victories against Australia were commonplace, the visitors managed to escape with a draw thanks to poor weather. After a gap of nearly 30 years from 1929, Edgbaston became a regular Test venue again in 1957. Peter May graced that 1957 Test with an unbeaten 285, sharing a partnership of 411 with Colin Cowdrey. May's is still the highest Test score on the ground, and the partnership the highest for any wicket.

England did not lose a Test at Edgbaston until 1975, when an inspired Dennis Lillee bowled Australia to an emphatic innings victory. England found winning ways again there in the 1990s, with wins over New Zealand (twice), India and Australia. The ground also hosted one of the greatest one-day games ever, as South Africa's 1999 World Cup dreams were wrecked by Allan Donald's last gasp run-out. Though they have lost their last two Edgbaston Tests, England still enjoy the ground. The emphasis is firmly on fun, and the crowd is probably the most partisan in England.

The Press Box stand is behind the sightscreen, but be prepared to pay for the view. Cheaper seats are available in the Raglan Stand, which is popular with families, and the Eric Hollies Stand, where some of England's louder (but rarely offensive) fans are found. Corporate hospitality is big business, though the sight of swathes of empty seats as patrons ignore the cricket in favour of gargantuan lunches is depressing.

Edgbaston is blessed with bars and fast food, as well as providing banqueting facilities. The club shop is located behind the William Ansell Stand, and an excellent museum can be found in the pavilion. Prices for international matches start at around 20, with family tickets offering good value.

How to get there:

Edgbaston Cricket Ground is located in the suburb of the same name, a pleasant area just south of the city centre and near the university. Because of its location, Birmingham is easily reached by road from most of the country. There is car parking nearby (7 for Test matches) and it's best to arrive early for big games. The ground, on Edgbaston Road (B4217) is linked to the city by the A441. The city's Ring Road connects with the A441.

Birmingham New Street station is in the city centre, a mile from the ground. The station is huge, always bustling and sometimes confusing. Though trains are probably the most expensive method of transport to Birmingham, deals can be found, particularly on weekends. Phone National Rail Enquiries first (0845 748 4950). National Express coaches ( arrive at Digbeth Coach Station, in the city. Booking in advance saves money, and there are discounts for the elderly, children and students.


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