Edgbaston Cricket Ground
|First Test||29 May 1902: England v Australia|
|Last Test||29 July 2015: England v Australia|
|First ODI||28 August 1972: England v Australia|
|Last ODI||9 June 2015: England v New Zealand|
|First T20I||5 July 2010: Australia v Pakistan|
|Last T20I||9 September 2014: England v India|
|As of 5 August 2015
Source: Matches played at Edgbaston
Edgbaston Cricket Ground, also known as the County Ground or Edgbaston Stadium, is a cricket ground in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham, England. It is home to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, and is also used for Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals.
The land that now makes up Edgbaston Cricket Ground was originally owned by the Calthorpe Estate, who have now sold the site onto Wylam Investments (Edgbaston Holdings) on a long lease. Calthorpe Estates had developed the manor of Edgbaston into an exclusive Birmingham suburb over the course of the 19th century, and believed that a cricket ground would be an asset that would add to the genteel image of the area. Warwickshire County Cricket Club had considered Rugby and Leamington Spa for their headquarters, but club secretary William Ansell believed that Birmingham's large population and comprehensive railway connections made it preferable – envisaging first-class status for the county and Test status for the ground.
The club had initially favoured the Wycliffe Ground on Pershore Road, but were instead offered a 12-acre "meadow of rough grazing land" in an undeveloped area on the banks of the River Rea by the Calthorpe Estate – the less attractive development land having more to gain from association with the cricket ground. With the site only 20 minutes' walk from New Street Station, Warwickshire agreed in 1885 to lease the land for £5 per acre over a 21-year period. A further £1,250 was spent on draining and enclosing the site and building a wooden pavilion. The new ground's first match took place on 7 June 1886 against the MCC, watched by 3,000 spectators over two days, with 6,000 turning out on 9 and 10 August to watch Warwickshire play Australia.
Edgbaston's first test match was the first in The Ashes series against Australia in 1902, for which the club erected a permanent stand, two temporary stands and facilities for 90 members of the press. These developments cost a total of £1,500, however, and Warwickshire's share of the tour funds was only £750.
The first piece of development in the post-war era was the construction of the Rea Bank and the Thwaite Memorial Scoreboard in 1950. In 1956 an Indoor Cricket School was built and the Pavilion Suite was completed in the same year. By the time the William Ansell Stand opened in 1967 the facilities at Edgbaston were considered to rival those at Lord's.
In 1989 executive boxes were added to the rear of the Priory and Raglan Stands and the Sidney Barnes Stand was reconstructed and enlarged, expanding the ground capacity of 17,500.
In July 1997, Edgbaston was the scene of the first competitive floodlit day-night cricket match in Britain.
The pavilion end on the south side of the ground was completely redeveloped between 2010 and 2011 at a cost of £32 million, partly paid for from a £20 million loan from Birmingham City Council, bringing the ground's capacity up to 25,000. Demolition of the pavilion – parts of which dated back to the 1890s – and the Leslie Deakins, R. V. Ryder and William Ansell Stands took place in January 2010, with construction of the new South and West Stands starting in April 2010 and reaching completion 66 weeks later. 5 permanent floodlight pylons were erected around the ground at the same time, allowing up to 15 days of day-night cricket annually. The new development was officially opened by the Duke of Edinburgh on 25 July 2011. The first test match to be played at the redeveloped venue was the third Test vs India on 10 August 2011, which saw England reach the number 1 position in the ICC Test Championship for the first time with victory by an innings and 242 runs on the fourth day of the match.
Edgbaston is considered to be one of England's leading cricket grounds. Wisden's guide to cricket grounds in 1992 commented that "Lord's is really its only superior in the United Kingdom" with The Daily Telegraph agreeing in 2009 that "taken all in all, it is now the best ground outside Lord's." After the opening of the new South and West Stands in 2011 the England and Wales Cricket Board commented that "the spacious facilities are cutting edge, marginally better than the Home of Cricket".
The atmosphere at Edgbaston is reputed to be the most hostile in England for visiting teams. Former England captain Alec Stewart recalled "On a world level I would put it up there with Eden Gardens in Calcutta, which holds about 100,000. It inspires a team. It's like having another man in your side." and the former England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones describes how "The crowd here makes such a big noise when you are doing well ... it's a unique environment." After winning the 2015 Ashes Test Match with Australia at Edgbaston, England captain Alastair Cook commented "The Edgbaston crowd was up there with the loudest I can remember. With some of the chants, even guys who have played a fair bit of cricket were looking at each other and realising how special it was. Edgbaston has been a fantastic venue for us."
The record attendance at a County Championship match at Edgbaston is 28,000 against Lancashire in the championship-winning season of 1951, and the record for a single day of a test match is 32,000 against the West Indies in 1957.
For some years until 2000, Edgbaston had a distinctive motorized rain cover system, known as the Brumbrella.
Stands and spectator facilities
- South Stand Built over the site of the previous pavilion in 2011, the stand is a multi-tiered structure which holds the Press Box, hospitality suites, players changing rooms, administration offices, Visitor and Learning Centre, the Club shop and banqueting halls. The South Stand (Pavilion) has a seating capacity of over 4,000 spectators.
- West Stand. Built in 2011 on the site of the previous William Ansell Stand, the West Stand has two large tiers of seating. Adjacent to the south is the Edgbaston Suite – a 750-seat banqueting and exhibition space whose bright blue presence is a distinctive feature of both the inside and the outside of the ground – above which facing the pitch is a large electronic scoreboard.
- Priory Stand
- Raglan Stand
- R. E. S. Wyatt Stand. Built at the City End in 1995 and named after the Warwickshire and England all-rounder Bob Wyatt, who died that year, the R. E. S. Wyatt Stand consists of a single tier of seating beneath two rows of executive boxes. Facilities in the stand include two pitch-view restaurants: the Marston's Suite and the Executive Club, together with the David Heath Suite, currently used by Warwickshire members.
- Press Box Stand. Built in 1957 and first used for that year's test match against the West Indies, this stand was given to the club by Langton Iliffe, 2nd Baron Iliffe and his fellow directors of the Coventry Evening Telegraph. It hosted the ground's press facilities until the opening of the new South Stand in 2011. A two tier stand, it is allocated as an alcohol-free family area for major matches.
- Stanley Barnes Stand. A small single tier stand opened in 1989, the Stanley Barnes Stand is situated in front of the Thwaite Memorial Scoreboard, the ground's most distinctive feature.
- Eric Hollies Stand. Formerly known as the Rea Bank, after the River Rea which runs immediately to its rear, this is traditionally the most raucous area of the ground. The stand was renamed after the Warwickshire and England leg-spinner Eric Hollies in 1989, and was rebuilt in 2003 with 5,900 seats, an increase of 1,300 over its predecessor. The design, which won a Civic Trust Award in 2003, features a series of eight aluminium sunshades suspended over the single tier of seating on simple steel masts, appearing to hover over the crowd beneath.
- Indoor Cricket Centre. Fronting the Pershore Road side of the ground, the Indoor Cricket Centre was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2000, replacing an earlier indoor cricket school of 1956. Its 41m x 32m main hall accommodates either eight net lanes for indoor cricket practice or two six-a-side pitches. The building also houses a small shop, a bar with an outdoor terrace and offices for regional, youth and disabled cricket boards.
- Visitor & Learning Centre. Opened in 2011 and situated on the mezzanine level of the South Stand, the 300m² Visitor & Learning Centre is an interactive display charting the history of Warwickshire County Cricket Club and of test match cricket at Edgbaston. The experience is introduced with a five-minute film giving a short overview of the history of the club and ground in a small theatre area, and includes audio and film records of key moments and figures from Warwickshire's past, and interactive installations demonstrating cricketing techniques and allowing visitors to test their judgement against that of test match umpires. The centre was favourably reviewed by The Independent when it opened in 2011. Commenting on how "the rich history of the club and the ground are told simply, straightforwardly and accessibly", the review concluded by comparing it to the equivalent at Lord's: "The museum at Lord's is cramped and gives an air of scholarly dinginess ... maybe they could learn a lesson or two from Edgbaston now."
- Museum and Library. A more traditional museum, housing the club's collection of cricketing memorabilia – one of the largest and most important in the country – and its cricketing library, opened underneath the R. E. S. Wyatt Stand in 2012.
- Colts' Ground. On the east side of the River Rea, to the rear of the Eric Hollies Stand, the smaller Colts' Ground is used for cricket practice and minor matches.
- 1957 – Stand of 411 between Peter May and Colin Cowdrey against the West Indies, England's highest-ever partnership.
- 1994 – Brian Lara scored 501* for Warwickshire against Durham, the highest score by a batsman in first class cricket.
- 1999 – Australia tie with South Africa in the 1999 Cricket World Cup semi final.
- 2004 – Marcus Trescothick becomes the first player to score a century in both innings of a test match at Edgbaston, against the West Indies. (105 & 107)
- 2005 – Australia lose to England by two runs in the second Test of the 2005 Ashes, the closest Ashes match ever.
- 2008 – South Africa secure their first series win in England since 1965, chasing down 281 to win the third Test, the highest ever successful pursuit at this ground. South African captain Graeme Smith scored 154* to lead his team to victory.
- 2011 – Alastair Cook scores 294 against India, as England become the number one ranked test team.
- 2012 – Tino Best scores 95 against England, the then record highest score for a number 11 batsmen. This notably formed part of a 143 run partnership with Denesh Ramdin, the third-highest Test stand with one wicket remaining.
- 2013 – India crowned ICC Champions Trophy winners following a nail-biting 5 run victory over England.
- 2014 – Edgbaston hosts its sixth NatWest t20 Blast Finals Day, with Birmingham Bears being crowned champions on their home ground for the first time in Warwickshire's history.
- 2015 - England score 408 their highest score ever in a One Day International 50 overs match against New Zealand. England also recorded their biggest margin of victory of 210 runs in the same match.
- 2015 - James Anderson took 6/47 to skittle Australia for 136 in the third test of the 2015 Ashes, a week before the 10th anniversary of the 2005 test. Anderson did not take a wicket for the last match at Lord's. In the same match, Steven Finn claimed 7/83 for the match in his return to test cricket, including claiming the wickets of Steve Smith and Michael Clarke in both innings, while Mitchell Johnson claimed his 300th test wicket.
- List of cricket grounds in England and Wales
- List of Test cricket grounds
- List of international cricket centuries at Edgbaston
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