The Ashes: Midlands players will be crucial in deciding which way the first Test will go

Ahead of the fourth day of the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, the hopes of England lie with their men from the Midlands.

England finished yesterday evening on 326 for 6, a lead of 261. They will be hoping that the stand of 108 between Warwickshire’s Ian Bell and Nottinghamshire’s Stuart Broad will be extended this morning, as England look to make an unassailable lead over Australia.

Ian Bell in action at Trent Bridge
Ian Bell in action at Trent Bridge Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Bell reached an agonising 95 before the close of play, and will hope to get to 100 as soon as possible this morning, before pushing on.

At the other end, Broad will be looking to capitalise on the biggest controversy of yesterday, when umpire Aleem Dar gave the batsman “not out”, despite pictures clearly showing Broad edge to slip.

Stuart Broad looks on as he appears to have been caught
Stuart Broad looks on as he appears to have been caught Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Once England’s innings comes to a close, they will be looking to another Midlands man to bring them victory. On a dry pitch, Nottinghamshire spinner Graeme Swann will have the nation’s expectations on his shoulders. After recently recovering from a potentially career-threatening injury, England will be hoping he can spin them to a triumph.

Graeme Swann celebrates
Graeme Swann celebrates Credit: EMPICS Sport/EMPICS Sport

This intriguing Test match should unfold further today - possibly to a result, with a day to spare. The action gets underway at 11am.