Australia’s track record of late at Edgbaston does not bode well for visitors’ chances in the first Ashes Test against England but skipper Tim Paine remains unfazed by the prospect.
The Aussie are yet to win a match at the ground since 2001 when they last captured the Ashes series on England soil and have since gone on to taste nine losses and one draw across all three formats at Edgbaston.
In contrast, Edgbaston has been a near fortress for hosts England with the side unbeaten in nine Tests at the venue since their last defeat to South Africa in 2008. In fact, the hosts have now won 11 matches on the trot at the venue coming into Thursday’s Test.
Despite their dismal track record, Paine feels that the venue for the Ashes series opener is ultimately inconsequential for his side.
“Regardless of where it is, obviously we want to get off to a good start in the Ashes,” the wicketkeeper-batsman was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“It’s really important that you get some momentum early in a big series like this. We haven’t spoken about whether Edgbaston is a fortress for them, because that’s irrelevant.
“It’s about being clear on what we want to do, both individually and as a team. If we can be really clear, come out and execute well, it doesn’t matter if we play at Edgbaston or on the moon, we think our best cricket is good enough.”
It was at Edgbaston itself that England beat Australia in the semi-final on their way to a maiden World Cup title earlier this month. Paine, however, is surprised at the pitch for the first Test and believes it could suit Australia’s strengths.
“The pitch looked a bit different,” the Aussie skipper stated.
“I must admit I was expecting a bit of a green top – it’s certainly a different colour than I expected but there is a thick covering of grass on it.
“Given there’s been a lot of rain, and the overcast skies here, I think the Dukes ball is going to swing around and it looks like, if anything, there might be a bit more pace in it than I was expecting, which again might suit us.”
Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss and chose to bat in the third one-day international against Bangladesh at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Wednesday.
The hosts will be looking to sweep the series after winning the first two matches by 91 runs and seven wickets respectively.
Sri Lanka made four changes from Sunday’s match, bringing in Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Kasun Rajitha and Wanindu Hasaranga for Lahiru Thirimanne, Akila Dananjaya, Nuwan Pradeep and Isuru Udana.
Bangladesh made two changes with Rubel Hossain and Anamul Haque coming in for Mustafizur Rahman and Mosaddek Hossain in their bid for a consolation win.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Shehan Jayasuriya, Kasun Rajitha, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara
Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal (capt), Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Mithun, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah Riyad, Anamul Haque, Sabbir Rahman, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Rubel Hossain
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Less than 48 hours remain for the Ashes series between England and Australia to get underway at Edgbaston with the two old foes set to battle it out once again for the historic urn.
The Ashes have become a permanent fixture in the cricket calendar and developed into the fiercest red-ball rivalry in international cricket.
As England and Australia prepare for the first Test which begins at Edgbaston on August 1, we look at some of the numbers behind the historic series.
33 – It is the number of Ashes series won by Australia compared to the 32 for England. The Aussies inched ahead in the rivalry with their 4-0 triumph Down Under in 2017-18.
5 – Only five of the 70 Ashes series conducted since 1882 have ended in a draw.
2001 – The last time Australia captured an Ashes series on England soil. Steve Waugh and his Aussie side then prevailed by 4-1 over an English side led by Nasser Hussain.
2 – The lowest margin of victory in any Ashes Test so far. It happened in the 2005 series in England where the hosts won the second Test at Edgbaston by just two runs before recapturing the urn with a dramatic 2-1 win.
195 – Is the number of Ashes wickets picked up Australia leg-spin legend Shane Warne. It is the most by any bowler in the history of the series.
5028 – The number of Ashes runs scored by Sir Don Bradman. It is the most by any batsman in Ashes history and came in 37 matches at an astounding average of nearly 90.
19 – Is the highest number of wickets picked up by a bowler in a single Ashes Test. It was achieved by Jim Laker in the 1956 series in England at Old Trafford. Laker picked up nine wickets in the first innings before becoming the first bowler in the world to claim all 10 wickets in the second innings.
8 – The number of Ashes tons scored by Australia’s Steve Smith. It is the most by any active batsman among the two teams and sixth in the all-time list.
36 – The lowest innings total in Ashes history. It was achieved by Australia all the way back in 1902 at Birmingham. The match still ended in a draw with rain playing spoilsport for England.
903 – Is the highest total in Ashes history. The score was registered by England in 1938 at the Oval in London.
8 – The number of Ashes ducks registered by England pace veteran James Anderson. It is the most by any player currently active in international cricket.
1972 – The last time an Ashes series ended in a draw. The series finished at 2-2 with England retaining the urn as holders.
3 – The number of times a team has been whitewashed 5-0 in the Ashes. England have been on the receiving end on all three occasions with the most recent of them coming in 2013-14.