Pitch report: Trent Bridge, Nottingham


We run the rule over the venue for the first Test between England and India in Nottingham.

<b>Established:</b> 1841<br><b>Capacity:</b> 17,000<br><b>Floodlights:</b> Yes<br><b>Ends:</b> Pavilion End, Radcliffe Road End<br><b>Home Team:</b> Nottinghamshire<br><b>Test History:</b> 59 Tests; 21 home wins; 16 away wins; 22 draws (including 1 neutral Test)<br><b>Last 10 Tests:</b> 8 home wins; 2 away wins<br><b>Last 10 tosses:</b> 9 batted first (6 wins, 3 defeats); 1 bowled first (1 win)

<b>Overview</b><br>Since making its Test debut in 1899, Trent Bridge has become a regular on the international circuit. Originally it was shared with Notts County Football Club, but by 1910 there was a big enough overlap in cricket and football seasons to force Notts County to move to nearby Meadow Lane.

It has since become a veritable results paradise. The venue has seen just one County Championship draw this season and has not witnessed a Test stalemate since August 2002. <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket/betting-in-running/England-v-India-7259057.html' target='_blank' class='instorylink'>England's 13/2 and India's 9/2 series opener odds</a> all but insist the trend will continue.

Although the pavilion remains within the architectural parameters of its 1889 foundation, there has been no shortage of redevelopment recently, starting with the Radcliffe Road Cricket Centre, which was completed in 1998. Since then the striking Fox Road stand, which includes a modernistic aircraft-wing roof, has been changed, while the West wing and Parr stand on the Bridgford Road side of the ground was replaced in 2008.

The effect of those alterations is that the ground is now completely encircled by buildings tall enough to cut off any breeze, and there has been a noticeable increase in swing – which was already abundant – since that last development. As a result Trent Bridge has increasingly become a results ground, and the only two draws to have taken place in the last dozen years were both rain-affected.

<b>Last Time Out</b><br>The 2013 Ashes opener spanned a full five days, with England triumphing by 14 runs amid a tense finish. The hosts continued the norm of batting first after winning the toss, but capitulated to Australia's seamers. The tourists were not much better with the bat, before conditions flattened out enough for a big enough second-innings total from the hosts. Spin had a big enough say throughout, with the wily Graeme Swann – during all of 44 overs – starting what fast bowler James Anderson completed after lunch on the final day.

<b>They Said</b><br>"The grass is dry, and we have been pushing it in every day. We have been watering around the edges. We don't want teams bowled out for 180. We are trying to get a bit of carry. If we get carry we are happy. There should be good carry. Four days to go, it is hard. Really hard. Looking at the surface, it has looked like a decent bat-first wicket, but then we have bowled first some days and we have got teams out easy. It all depends on the bowlers and the overhead conditions." – Trent Bridge curator <b>Steve Birks</b>.

"The ball hasn't swung here as much but the nicks carry. Slip fielders are in the game. We are well supported here which gives the players a big lift." – England fast bowler <b>Stuart Broad</b>.

"For the bowlers the length changes a little, you have to bowl a bit fuller when you go overseas. And it's not an easy thing to do, especially for a young bowler. You've been groomed and trained your brain to bowl a certain way and even if the difference is only 6 or 12 inches, it's not easy to make the change instantly and that too under pressure." – India coach <b>Duncan Fletcher</b>

<b>Happy Hunting Ground</b><br>Fast bowler <b>James Anderson</b> is one Test wicket shy of 50 here, at an average of under 18. Next in line is fellow right-armer <b>Stuart Broad</b>, who has taken 21 in five matches. 2011 survivor <b>Ishant Sharma</b>, meanwhile, took five wickets during the second Test at Trent Bridge.

Batting-wise, the right-handed <b>Ian Bell</b> is at the head of the current pack – but has only managed an average of 38.30 after 10 innings, largely bolstered by last year's ton against the Aussies. Even <b>Stuart Broad's</b> Test batting aggregate of 39.12 is better than that of Bell's. Indian skipper <b>Mahendra Singh Dhoni</b> endured just five and a duck three years ago.

<b>Weather Forecast</b><br>Thundershowers have been predicted for the start of the week, but are likely to clear before Wednesday's start. Saturday, however, might see play punctuated by a return of the inclement weather. Temperatures will peak at 21 degrees Celsius and dip to 17.

<b>Conclusion</b><br>A results pitch by all accounts, Trent Bridge has produced just one draw in six attempts this County Championship season. All of its last 10 Tests, too, have avoided stalemates.

Batting has been the toss-winning captain's priority throughout, but overhead conditions – and some extra grass on the pitch – might convince otherwise come Wednesday.

Curator Steve Birks has remained objective despite Nottinghamshire's hometown hero Broad's veritable plea for a very lively wicket. No preference for batsmen or bowlers will really be shown, but a traditionally hard, fast outfield will favour the latter.

India's young batsmen are going to have to get on the top of the additional bounce – and quickly. England's tired seam attack must bowl fuller. Understandably, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin can expect to take a backseat in selection to all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. Conditions won't demand a specialist slow bowler – but <a href='http://www.paddypower.com/bet/cricket' target='_blank' class='instorylink'><b>Paddy Power have Moeen Ali as a firm favourite to succeed in the second innings</b></a>.