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Simon Hughes: England galvanised by supportive Brummies (1)

28 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Simon Hughes: England galvanised by supportive Brummies (1)

England's rejigged order looks more aggressive than at Lord’s - this is their best chance of getting back into the series, says The Analyst

England really enjoy playing at Edgbaston.

Not just because of the memory of the amazing 2005 Test there which turned around that Ashes series, but also because of the support they get.

It is very vocal, noisy and partisan – maybe there are less Aussies in Birmingham than in English cities? – and the England players are visibly lifted by 25,000 fans urging them on.

The defeat to South Africa is their only Test defeat in the last 10 at Edgbaston – winning six and drawing three – while they have a higher win ratio there (51%) than at any of the other traditional venues.

3/1 – England to win the third Ashes Test

The pitch – which is a little mottled with tufty grass – also suits English-style bowlers. It nibbles off the seam from a good length and can be a bit two-paced, meaning the odd ball bounces slightly more off a length and can take the edge, while others die and hit the bottom of the bat or the inside edge. Batsmen dragging attempted cuts or drives into their stumps are quite common at Edgbaston.

Jimmy Anderson is usually a master of exploiting this unevenness. He tormented the Indian batsmen with his forensic skills during the 2011 Test, removing their four Galacticos in the space of eight overs at a negligible cost. Anderson could again be a handful if, as looks likely to be the case, there is a little bit of extra grass left on the pitch. The ball keeps its shine because of the lush outfield.

9/2 – Jimmy Anderson to be the Test’s top bowler

The pitch will not have a lot of bounce or pace, meaning that short bowling should generally be punished, while the spinners won’t get much reward.

Like at Cardiff, Australia’s quicks will be negated somewhat. Although, due to his low trajectory, Mitchell Johnson’s shorter balls are awkward to handle because they skid at the batsman and don’t get up much. But he shouldn’t get the zip off the pitch that he found at Lord’s.

Ian Bell is moving up to No. 3. Even though he is not in good form – averaging only 10.6 in his last six Tests – it is a positive move and a far better alternative to having the nervy, apprehensive Gary Ballance.

Bell is far too talented and experienced a player to continue in this slump. This decisive move may be just the tonic he needs to become the first Warwickshire player to make a Test century at Edgbaston.

READ – Dean Wilson: England must hit back at Mitchell Johnson

With Jonny Bairstow replacing Ballance, England’s rejigged order looks more aggressive than at Lord’s and there is a better mix of right and left handers. This looks England’s best chance of getting back into the series. The surface should suit them.

They should be aware, however, that in the last nine Ashes contests the team that won the second Test – in this case, Australia, have gone on to win the series.

The Ashes Third Test betting