England v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Edgbaston
May 24, 2006
A lowdown on Edgbaston, the venue for the second Test between England and Sri Lanka
Will Marcus Trescothick be doing this again over the next five days at Edgbaston?
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Edgbaston has clearly been a lucky venue for England. In 41 Tests, they have won 21 - the win percentage of 51.22 is easily the best for England at a home venue (among grounds where they have played more than two Tests). Headingley, their next-best venue, has only given them victory 48% of the time (28 out of 65).
Whichever way the match goes, it's unlikely to end in a stalemate, unless the weather intervenes - in the last 12 Tests, only two finished in draws, and both involved South Africa. Sri Lanka have played here just once, and they won't have happy memories of that game - four years back, they were routed by an innings and 111 runs.
Most teams prefer to bat first after winning the toss, but it'll be interesting to observe what the captain decides to do here - in the last 14 Tests since 1991, only twice has the team batting first gone on to win. England's win against West Indies in 2004 broke a sequence of nine decisive matches which were all won by the team fielding first.
The first three days are clearly the best for batsmen at this ground: since 2000, the average runs per wicket for the first two innings are 40.7 and 42.8, but this slips to 21.6 and 29 over the last two innings of the match.
Marcus Trescothick made a glorious return to international cricket at Lord's, and if his numbers at Edgbaston are anything to go by, expect another huge score from him here: in nine innings at Birmingham, Trescothick has slammed three hundreds and an equal number of fifties, and averages an impressive 80.37. His opening partner, Andrew Strauss, though, has a few scores to settle here: in four innings, he has never gone past 50.
Meanwhile Matthew Hoggard will have fond memories of both the ground and the opposition: in three Tests, he averages 24.46, and his only five-wicket haul at this ground came against Sri Lanka in 2002.
And England's talisman has had a mixed time of it here: Andrew Flintoff's batting has been on fire, with three fifty-plus scores in his last four innings and an average of more than 50, but he hasn't managed a single five-for at this ground yet, though he turned it on last time with 7 for 131 against Ricky Ponting's Australians.
S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo.
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