We take a closer look at the venue for the opening Test match of the 2013 Ashes, Trent Bridge.
Previously renowned for its lace-making and tobacco industries, the city of Nottingham is based in the East Midlands, right in the heart of England. Connected by the M1 motorway and East Midlands airport, Nottingham is one of the most accessibly cities in the United Kingdom. The population stands at around 290,000, of which some 60,000 study at the cities two universities; University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent. History links the city with the legend of Robin Hood and his great enemy the Sheriff of Nottingham, but while Sherwood Forest remains, the Sheriff's home and lair - the city's imposing medieval castle - has been replaced by the Nottingham Castle. Market Square is the centre of a vibrant nightlife every weekend, while many flock to the towns various shopping arcades. Within easy striking distance of the city is the former coal-mining village of Eastwood, home of the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum.
Located within a stone's throw of professional football teams Nottingham Forest and Notts County, Trent Bridge completes a hat-trick of historic sporting venues on the banks of the River Trent. The picturesque venue has undergone major redevelopment in recent years and this Ashes campaign will see a new state-of-the-art scoreboard and replay screen in between the Radcliffe Road and Fox Road stands - replacing the one which has stood since 1974. The Fox Road and William Clarke stands have both been given a face-lift in recent times and there is a blend of old and new behind the wickets as the famous pavilion faces the three-tiered Radcliffe Road Stand. The capacity is expected to be around 19,000 by the time the first Ashes Test gets under way on July 10.
Notoriously a swing-venue friendly, Trent Bridge is also deemed is one of the truest batting wickets in world cricket. The blend makes for a fascinating battle between bat and ball and the only two draws in the last decade were both rain-affected. The decision of whether to bat or bowl first can be a difficult one at Trent Bridge, which is statistically the toughest venue in England for teams batting first in the last decade. With spin at a premium, it would come as no surprise to see Australia select an all-seam attack in Nottingham.
Trent Bridge staged its first Test Ashes in 1899 and since then England have won only four of 20 meetings with the Old Enemy at the venue. Crucially, though, England tasted victory the last time the sides met there, in 2005. A nervy three-wicket victory on that occasion propelled England into a 2-1 series lead which they preserved at the Oval to claim the little urn for the first time since 1986-87. Australia should be wary of James Anderson's fantastic record in Nottingham, where he has taken 39 wickets in six matches at an average of just 17.74. But the tourists will look to take inspiration from a famous day for the Baggy Greens back in 1989, where openers Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh gave the England attack a day to forget, batting through the first day, reaching 301 without loss. The most famous Ashes fielding moment? Well, only Ricky Ponting would begrudge Gary Pratt of that honour.