Birmingham: A deadpan Tim Paine has downplayed the importance of Edgbaston’s reputation as a graveyard for touring teams, saying he could “name you 15” more intimidating grounds in world cricket.
England have won 11 straight matches at the venue in all formats leading into Thursday’s first Ashes Test, most recently the World Cup semi-final against Australia three weeks ago. Australia, meanwhile, start the series in the West Midlands having not won a Test at the ground since 2001 or a one-day international since 1993.
Known as the most football-like crowd among the England Test venues, the Birmingham faithful is expected to issue a cool welcome back to Test cricket to Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who will be playing their first game since their bans for the sandpaper scandal.
Paine, however, ridiculed the suggestion that the 25,000-capacity ground was the most imposing to play at in the world. Asked whether he could think of one more intimidating, he replied: “Than this? I could name you 15.”