1. ITV Report

Preview: Will England seal the Ashes series in Nottingham?

England celebrate after taking a wicket at the third Test in Edgbaston Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

England will take their fight to reclaim the Ashes to Nottingham today - where they could seal the series with a win at Trent Bridge.

The home side have kept up their inconsistent form in this series. They began with a confident opening win in the first Test, before slumping to a 405 runs loss in the second.

The third match at Edgbaston saw them strike back to pull 2-1 ahead in the series, largely thanks to an imperious batting performance from Ian Bell.

But their last five completed Test matches have seen them follow each win with a loss. Can they make it two victories in a row - and win back the urn?


The last thirty years have seen seven Ashes matches played at Trent Bridge, with Australia just coming out on top overall. Of those matches, two have been won by England, three have been claimed by Australia and two have ended in a draw.

1989 in particular is a year they'll want to forget. Australia had already claimed the series by the time the two sides met at Nottingham. Australia reached 602 for six wickets in the first innings and bowled England out for 255. Australia forced the follow-on and the hosts were dismissed for a humiliating 167. Incidentally, it took another sixteen years for England to claim back the Ashes.

2013: England won by 14 runs 2005: England won by 3 wickets 2001: Australia won by 7 wickets 1997: Australia won by 264 runs 1993: Match drawn 1989: Australia won by one innings and 180 runs 1985: Match drawn

England's Andrew Flintoff on his way to a century during the second day of the fourth npower Test match against Australia at Trent Bridge IN 2005 Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/PA Images


England can look to recent years from English heroes for some inspirational moments of Ashes glory at Trent Bridge.

2005: Freddie Flintoff's superb batting performance and his first century at Trent Bridge may have been a decade ago but the memory of it lives strong in the minds of many cricket fans. Flintoff managed 102 from 132 balls, setting up England for a total of 477 in the first innings. They went on to win the series 2-1.

2013: It was all about Jimmy Anderson in the opening Test match at Trent Bridge two years ago. The bowler took an astonishing ten wickets and the man of the match award as England went 1-0 up - and eventually claimed the series.

Jimmy Anderson will not play at Trent Bridge because of a side injury Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images


The hero two years ago, Anderson will be missing from this year's test after sustaining a side injury in the third test at Edgbaston.

In his place, the experience of Stuart Broad will prove crucial in leading the attack. Steve Finn, currently in the midst of a run of excellent form since making a return to the international stage, will also be expected to step up.

Mark Wood is set to replace Anderson in the squad after recovering from an injury of his own - but Alastair Cook's men will feel their star bowler's absence keenly.

England captain Alastair Cook (left) and Australia captain Michael Clarke (right) pose with the Ashes Credit: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images


There's no doubt which captain goes into this Test Match on a high. England's Alastair Cook has performed well individually. He came close to a century at Lords and produced arguably the catch of the series so far to dismiss Brad Haddin in Cardiff.

Australian skipper Michael Clarke meanwhile has had a miserable time of it thus far. He now holds the unenviable honour of being the first Australia captain to lead his side to twelve away Test defeats on the bounce. He's also only managed 94 runs in the series so far, averaging less than twenty.

No wonder he claimed his side were playing with 'ten men', a reference to his own seeming lack of impact on the game.

The surface at Trent Bridge was criticised last year. Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Archive/PA Images


The playing surface at Trent Bridge was heavily criticised last year and deemed 'unacceptable for Test cricket' by the International Cricket Council following a tedious England test against India. Critics claimed the slowness of the surface was to blame.

Groundsman Steve Birks will be hoping his pitch doesn't come until similar fire today. Although he wasn't giving much away about his preparations, he was adamant that they would be making sure the ground didn't slow down play.

"There has been a lot of rain, particularly for the time of year, but now it's starting to warm up a bit so I hope we're just hitting it right." "We will decide how much grass to take off it later on, but we are aiming for decent pace and carry."

– Steve Birks, Trent Bridge Groundsman
England fans dress up at Edgbaston Credit: Mike Egerton/PA Wire/Press Association Images


England's players were full of praise for the raucous Edgbaston crowd following their triumph in the third Test match, which saw chants about Australian batsmen and rapturous responses to England's success.

Trent Bridge is known to have a rather more sedate atmosphere. Despite repeated please from the Barmy Army, Nottinghamshire have maintained a ban on musical instruments in the ground, meaning that the Army's trumpeter, Billy Cooper, will be not be able to add to the occasion at Trent Bridge.

The co-founder of the Barmy Army, Paul Burnham, has criticised Nottinghamshire for refusing to bend the rules.

"What people sometimes don't understand," Burnham told ESPNcricinfo, "is that Billy orchestrates a lot of the singing. People will still do it if he's not there. But it will be in pockets of 10 or 20 here and there. It will be chaotic and less helpful for the side and less fun for the spectators."

So if England are to beat the Australians and claim the series, it looks like they'll need to do it in a rather more sedate environment than their last match.