Cardiff and Lord’s hosted great Test matches, but the Ashes has really got going at Edgbaston. It’s the crowd.
We went on Saturday and much as we love eating sandwiches in the rain, Sunday showed what we missed. It clearly affects the players who were suddenly all very interested in talking to their opponents between deliveries.
The day ended with a healthy debate between James Anderson and Shane Watson. Watson’s mum must have been in the crowd, because he doesn’t seem the type to stand up for himself otherwise. Earlier on, Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad had sledged Mitchell Johnson, seemingly unaware that they were the batsmen and supposed to be on the receiving end.
Broad got an earful off just about everybody, but being posh and looking about 15 has doubtless provided good preparation for this sort of treatment. He gives as good as he gets and seems to really enjoy himself.
But the highest compliment you can pay the Edgbaston crowd, is that they somehow coaxed a batting performance out of Andrew Flintoff – 74 runs thumped off 79 balls.
- Edgbaston + Flintoff + beer = atmosphere
- Atmosphere + Flintoff = a Flintoff performance
- A Flintoff performance + Edgbaston + beer = a crowd that improves England by about 10 percent