Will it be Fortress Edgbaston again for England?
England have lost just one Test match at Edgbaston since the 2001 Ashes series
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 30/07/19 11:12am
It is Ashes week, and what a venue to kick off the 2019 series. Edgbaston will be vociferous in its support for England, and Joe Root's side will head to Birmingham in confident mood.
England have not lost to Australia at Edgbaston for 18 years, since an innings and 118-run defeat to the tourists in 2001.
England's all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson is expected to overcome a calf problem, but that is not the only reason for England to be cheerful as they look to regain the urn on home soil after the 4-0 series loss in 2017/18.
England's top order is struggling at present but for all the slight issues heading into the Test opener, they don't have them at Edgbaston, where they have won each of their last 11 matches across all formats.
In this leafy southern suburb of Birmingham, the Barmy Army create a raucous atmosphere and conditions - in terms of pitch, outfield and boundary sizes - have suited England well in the past, as we take a look at just how big a fortress Edgbaston has become.
How England turned Edgbaston into a Fortress
England beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 111 runs in Second Test
England beat South Africa by four wickets in First ODI
England draw with South Africa in First Test
England beat West Indies by 256 runs in Second Test
England beat Zimbabwe by 152 runs in ODI
England beat Australia by six wickets in ODI
England beat Australia by two runs in Second Test
England beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in Second Test
England beat Pakistan by three wickets in Fifth ODI
West Indies beat England by 61 runs in Second ODI
England beat India by 42 runs in Third ODI
South Africa beat England by five wickets in Third Test
England beat West Indies by 58 runs in Second ODI
England draw with Australia in Third Test
England beat Bangladesh by 144 runs in Third ODI
England beat Pakistan by nine wickets in Second Test
England beat India by an innings and 242 runs in Third Test
England draw with West Indies in Fifth Test
England beat South Africa by 28 runs in Third T20I
England beat Australia by 48 runs in Fourth ODI
India beat England by five runs in ODI
Sri Lanka beat England by six wickets in Fifth ODI
India beat England by nine wickets in Third ODI
England beat India by three runs in T20I
England beat New Zealand by 210 runs in First ODI
England beat Australia by eight wickets in Third Test
England beat Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in Second ODI
England beat Pakistan by 141 runs in Third Test
England beat Australia by 40 runs in ODI
England beat West Indies by an innings and 209 runs in First Test
England beat Australia by 28 runs in T20I
England beat India by 31 runs in First Test
England beat India by 31 runs in ODI
England beat Australia by eight wickets in ODI
Australia will point to the fact that they have performed rather well there, winning three times and drawing on five other occasions in their 14 Edgbaston encounters.
Glenn McGrath didn't feature in the infamous 2005 Test at Edgbaston after he stepped on a ball and ruptured his ankle on the first morning.
He told Sky Sports: "It's not one of my favourite memories. Every time I go back, the officials and the groundsmen show me the exact piece of turf where it happened.
"They keep telling me they're going to put a plaque out there as well! But there's still some fond memories from Edgbaston, and that Test match went right down to the wire. The interest that generated back in cricket in the UK I think is unmatched."
Speaking ahead of England's World Cup semi-final with Australia earlier this month, Eoin Morgan said: "It's a place that we really like playing.
"If we had a choice of where we would play our group-stage games, Edgbaston, The Oval and Trent Bridge would probably be the three grounds where we would have played the nine games, so it is comforting that we are going to one of those grounds."
Morgan is one of nine changes to squad for first Ashes Test from the ODI format - but England will hope the euphoria generated from a maiden World Cup triumph can translate into further success this summer at Test level.
"It's a little bit like Australia taking England to Brisbane first up, and England need to get up and running," said Bob Willis.
"I think if England don't win at Edgbaston then Australia are favourites, but if England can win the first Test match, the Ashes should come back home."
England have lost just eight Test matches there in total - winning 28 - and you have to go back 11 years to the five-wicket defeat to South Africa for the last time that the hosts lost at the ground.
Edgbaston continued to build on its reputation as one of the England cricket team's favourite grounds in 2011 when the highest team innings was set - 710 for the loss of seven wickets against India.
That particular contest saw Alastair Cook score the highest individual score at the ground - 294 runs - and the World Cup semi-final victory over Australia by eight wickets this month is still fresh in the mind.
So what hope do the tourists have of avoiding going behind in the series? Well, England will want to make hay while the sun is shining with rain forecast throughout the five days.
Watch England take on Australia in this summer's Ashes series, live on Sky Sports Cricket (channel 404) from 10am on Thursday. Click here to upgrade now.