On the Front Foot: Trent Bridge can be the key to securing Ashes success

 

Trent Bridge is a barometer for where the Ashes end up. Australia have won seven of the 20 Tests there against England and on six of those occasions have also taken the series.

England's four wins have led to the capture of the Ashes three times. The nine draws have gone on to favour Australia four times and England five. The last match between the sides at the ground in 2005 was probably the most thrilling and eventually sealed England's first Ashes win for 16 years.

If that was the closest, by three wickets, England's first win 100 years earlier remains their largest. They were led then by the distinctly under-rated Stanley Jackson, then the Honourable Francis Stanley, later to become a Sir. He was a Yorkshire all-rounder who played in 20 Tests over 12 years, all against Australia, and in his last series he was at his zenith. He cleaned up Australia with the ball in the first innings, taking 5 for 52 including three wickets in an over and then struck a crisp 82 not out to set up his team's declaration.

The leg spin of Bernard Bosanquet, inventor of the googly which is still known by some in Australia as the Bosie, did the rest. He took 8 for 107, still the best figures by an England cricketer in the Trent Bridge Test.

Brassed off

It is unlikely that Sir Stanley Jackson had to listen to the playing of the Barmy Army's Billy "The Trumpet" Cooper. Being the patrician chap he was, it is doubtful that he would have put up with it. But it is an issue of the moment.

The trumpet voluntary, which has become a feature of England Tests, remains contentious. Though patriotic, it can also be distinctly intrusive. It seems one man's music is another man's disharmony, and the musical interludes may yet be prohibited.

A bridge too far

In 1989 Australia came to this country without a prayer. David Gower, newly restored to the England captaincy, was expected to lead England to glorious victory. Beaten in three of the first four Tests, England were virtually trampled underfoot at Nottingham.

By the end of the first day Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh has assembled an unbroken opening partnership of 301 – the second-highest score without losing a wicket on the opening day of any Test. They eventually made 329, the highest opening stand in Ashes history.

Change the record

It may not come to mean anything, but only the captain, Michael Clarke, in Australia's Ashes quad has appeared in a Test match at Trent Bridge. Four Australians, Don Bradman, Allan Border, Steve Waugh and Shane Warne, appeared there four times each.

Of those, only Bradman scored a hundred, which he did three times. The highest score by an Australian was Stan McCabe's 238 in 1938, when Eddie Paynter scored 216 not out for England, which remains their biggest in an Ashes match at the ground. After 77 years, it is perhaps time for those records to be broken.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

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