August 14, 2003

A half-century for Trent Bridge

Today's match brings up the half-century of Test matches at Trent Bridge. England have been involved in 48 of the previous 49, winning 13, drawing 21 and losing 14. The odd one out was a match between Australia and South Africa in the 1912 Triangular Tournament, which was a rain-affected draw. The first match there was the 50-year-old WG Grace's last, a drawn game against the Aussies in 1899.

England and South Africa have crossed swords at Nottingham seven times in Tests. England have won three and SA two, with two draws. England came out on top in the most recent meeting, in 1998, when they won the fourth Test to square that series. That was a match made memorable by the eyeball-to-eyeball duel of Mike Atherton and Allan Donald as England successfully chased their fourth-innings target of 247.

Prior to that, the last time these two teams met at Trent Bridge was back in 1965, a match that featured another fine innings. Graeme Pollock's 125 on an untrustworthy pitch inspired South Africa to a 94-run victory.

West Indies have the best record of any visitors to Nottingham: they have won four and drawn four of their eight Trent Bridge Tests. Zimbabwe are also unbeaten there, having drawn their only Test in 2000. Australia have won seven of their 20 Tests on the ground (and drawn ten, including the 1912 one against South Africa, and lost only three), while New Zealand have won one of seven (lost four, drawn two). India and Pakistan have played three Tests there, and neither has won. India have drawn twice (including last year) and lost one, while Pakistan have lost two and drawn one.

The highest individual score at Trent Bridge (Graeme Smith please note) is Denis Compton's 278 against Pakistan in 1954. The highest team total remains England's 658 for 8 declared (Paynter 216 not out, Barnett 102, Compton 102, Hutton 100) against Australia in 1938. And the best bowling figures date back to 1905, when the googly-inventor Bernard Bosanquet bamboozled Australia with 8 for 107.