Pitch report – Trent Bridge, Nottingham

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It's not a high-scoring ground or a flat track, but the outfield is quick and hard, and if batsmen can get set early, and have an eye on the aging reverse swing ball, there should be an interesting contest on the cards.

<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> 58 Tests; 20 home wins; 16 away wins; 22 draws (including 1 neutral Test)<br><b>Last 10 Tests:</b> 7 home wins; 2 away wins; 1 draw<br><b>Last 10 tosses:</b> 8 batted first (4 wins, 3 defeats, 1 draw); 2 bowled first (1 win, 1 defeat)

<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.

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 decade were both rain-affected.

<b>Last Time Out</b><br>The most recent visitors to Trent Bridge for a Test were the West Indies, in May 2012, and they walked away with a nine-wicket defeat thanks to heroics from Time Bresnan and Andrew Strauss.

The Windies won the toss and chose to bat, which was a traditionally sound move, but England's bowlers used their experience and swing superiority to turn the tables on convention at one of their favourite grounds.

The visitors batted first and put on a respectable 370 all out in just over a day, with Marlon Samuels and Darren Sammy scoring centuries to make up for the top order's failure. Bresnan bagged four wickets, while James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann took two each.

England's innings was notable for the century by captain Strauss, who had not scored a ton in more than a year and was visibly thrilled with finally getting that monkey off his back. His 141, and Kevin Pietersen's 80, saw England record 428 all out.

The Windies second knock saw them start with a deficit and it went from bad to worse as Bresnan and Anderson demolished them in 60 overs. They were all out for 165, Bresnan and Anderson bagging four each, leaving England needing 108 to win.

The hosts had nearly two days to score the required runs, and did so with a day and a bit to spare as Strauss, Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott bagged the 111 runs in 30.4 overs.

<b>They Said</b><br>England fast bowler James Anderson on the swing prospects: ""All the feedback we're getting from the Notts boys is that it's not swung as much this year. The pitch is very flat and very dry, so we don't really know what to expect until we get there and practise."

Nottinghamshire skipper Chris Read: "I think the square has been changing for the last three or four years. A lot of people have put it down to these new outfields – the one at Trent Bridge is fantastic in terms of absorbing the water from rain, but the theory is that it is also sucking moisture out of the square.

"I certainly think that for the majority of our games this year there has been less moisture in the ground and it's therefore been giving less assistance to all the quick bowlers."

Australia batsman Chris Rogers this week: "The sun's out, you expect nice batting conditions when the overheads are good but it still swung so that's how it's played traditionally, I expect that to be the case. It's hard to know what the wicket is going to do, I think it's going to be pretty good to bat on, but swing is going to be a big threat."

He added: "It looked like there were a few cracks in it. I think they're trying to keep some moisture in it definitely. It's been hot here and I think that's going to dictate how the pitch plays.

"If you look at the wickets next to the pitch they are fairly abrasive already, so everyone realises the ball will scuff up a fair bit. Therefore reverse swing comes into it. Spin is going to have to do a huge role to help out the quicks as well."

<b>Happy Hunting Ground</b><br>You have to scroll pretty far down the list to find a current England or Australia on the run-scoring records at this venue, with <b>Kevin Pietersen</b> the top candidate with 465 runs. Mike Atherton is number one, with 1083.

Pietersen averages nearly 39 here, in seven Tests, and has a top score of 115, which is his only Test ton here. He does have two half centuries though. Otherwise, only <b>Ian Bell</b> features, with an average of 31.12 in five Tests.

There are only two Australians on the list, and both stopped playing before the 1950s, so this will be a chance for the inexperienced Baggy Green line up to make a name for themselves in Outlaw country.

When it comes to bowling, <b>James Anderson</b> loves this ground and has the stats to back up the love. He has taken 39 wickets in just seven games, utilising his own swing skills at a venue made for such exploits. Two more wickets will see him top the list.

<b>Stuart Broad</b> also has a decent record at his home ground, taking 18 wickets in four Tests, averaging 21. <b>Tim Bresnan</b> is not far behind, bagging 15 scalps in four matches at an average of 15.80.

The Aussie bowling attack consists of Ashes rookies and Peter Siddle. Needless to say, no current Aussies are on the list as none of them have played here in a Test before.

<b>Weather Forecast</b><br>The weather, according to various forecasts, is expected to be warm, slightly humid and dry for the duration of the Test, with only day five, on Sunday, potentially seeing a 25 percent chance of rain. This lack of cloud cover, combined with the reportedly dry deck, will hinder the famous conventional swing but encourage spin and reverse swing.

<b>Conclusion</b><br>It seems that Ashes fans could not ask for a better venue to kick the series off at, with bowlers of all varieties likely to get some assistance and batsmen with patience sure to bag some runs.

It's not a high-scoring ground or a flat track, but the outfield is quick and hard, and if batsmen can get set early, and have an eye on the aging reverse swing ball, there should be an interesting contest on the cards.

The clear forecast will probably prevent a dull draw, as the venue doesn't often let such a result blight its record books if rain doesn't intervene. This will allow all eyes to focus on Joe Root, Chris Rogers and the other spotlit players ahead of the series.

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