Eight Edgbaston classics

Brett Lee, Australia’s Spirit of Cricket Ambassador, with Andrew Flintoff Getty Images

To mark the 50th men's Test at Edgbaston, we look at some of the most memorable encounters at the ground.

1902 - England drew with Australia

The first Test at Edgbaston - a three-day game - saw stands horse-drawn from Villa Park to a ground that had hosted its maiden first-class match only 11 years earlier and deals made with railway companies to ensure cheap fares. Wilfred Rhodes claimed 7 for 17 as Australia were dismissed for just 36 - still their lowest Test score - in reply to England's 376 for 9 declared. Regular visitors to Edgbaston will not be shocked to learn that was just about the end of matters, though. It started to rain and it's hardly stopped.

1957 - England drew with West Indies

Peter May and Colin Cowdrey added 411 for England's fourth-wicket in the second innings - still England's highest Test partnership - to turn almost certain defeat into potential victory. Starting their second innings with a deficit of 288, they were 113 for 3 when the pair came together. Defying an attack that included Sonny Ramadhin, who had taken 7 for 49 in the first innings, May and Cowdrey allowed England to declare on 583 for 4 and set West Indies 296 to win. They finished on 72 for 7. It was also the first game from which the BBC broadcast live commentary.

1981- England beat Australia by 29 runs

Another incredible stop in the journey that was Botham's Ashes. Just over a week after turning the Headingley Test with his batting, he did it was his bowling. On this occasion, he was thrown the ball with Australia requiring 46 more to win (they were set 151), with six wickets in hand. He responded with a spell of five wickets for one run in 28 balls and England won by 29 runs. Mike Brearley, the England captain, remarked at the time that the Rea Bank Stand - now the Eric Hollies Stand - was as loud as anything he had experienced at a cricket match; a feature that was to become a characteristic of Edgbaston.

1995 - West Indies beat England by an innings and 64 runs

They're a hospitable bunch in Birmingham. Had Curtly Ambrose and co sent a detailed wish-list for the sort of surface they wanted, this Edgbaston track couldn't have been more obliging. From the moment the first ball of the match passed over Mike Atherton's head, cleared the keeper and bounced away for four byes, it was obvious England had a battle on their hands. And, as they were dismissed for 147 and 89, it became apparent they were not equal to it. It was all over by lunch on the third day.

1997 - England beat Australia by nine wickets

Australia were overwhelming favourites for the 1997 Ashes but, 90 minutes into the series, they were 54 for 8 at Edgbaston as Andy Caddick and Darren Gough tore through them. While they rallied slightly to make 118, England took a huge first-innings lead as Nasser Hussain (207) and Graham Thorpe (138) carried their side to 478 for 9 before the declaration came. Australia fought well in their second innings but even centuries from Greg Blewett and Mark Taylor couldn't dig them out of that hole. England knocked off the 118 required for victory with the loss of just one wicket.

2005 - England beat Australia by 2 runs

The greatest Test of all? It was a classic, for sure. Even before that breathless finish, Edgbaston witnessed Glenn McGrath rule himself out of the match by slipping on a ball in warm-ups, then Ricky Ponting inexplicably insert England, who then thrashed 407 on the first day. Local hero Ashley Giles, who had been derided after England's first Test defeat, claimed three wickets as Australia conceded a first-innings deficit before Andrew Flintoff made a second-innings 73 (his second half-century of the game) with four sixes just as it appeared Australia were clawing their way back into the game through a six-wicket haul for Shane Warne. Then that famous fourth and final day. The ground was full despite the fact that it could have been over in two balls - Australia, set 282 to win, were 175 for 8 - and, by the time Warne's fine 42 was ended after he trod on his stumps, the final pair required 62 more. They scored 59 of them before Michael Kasprowicz fended one off his glove against Steve Harmison to see England level the series.

2011 - England beat India by an innings and 242 runs

The first game at the redeveloped Edgbaston saw England claim the win that guaranteed them the series and the No. 1 ranking in Test cricket. Victory was built upon an innings of 294 by Alastair Cook (and a century for Eoin Morgan) which gave England a first-innings lead of 468. In response India were dismissed for 244 with Virender Sehwag completing a king pair and Sachin Tendulkar run-out backing up as Graeme Swann diverted a drive from MS Dhoni on to the stumps at the bowler's end.

2012 - England drew with West Indies

This was, in many ways, an unremarkable game. But an innings of 95 from West Indies' No. 11, Tino Best, and a tenth-wicket stand of 143 with Denesh Ramdin enlivened proceedings. Ramdin notoriously celebrated his century with that "YEA VIV TALK NAH" sign, while England, having rested James Anderson and Stuart Broad for a dead rubber, gave opportunities to the likes of Steven Finn and Graham Onions. It turned out to be Onions' final Test. Ian Bell was hopeful of becoming the first Warwickshire player to register a Test century at the ground when rain - that familiar visitor - intervened with him 76 not out.

This piece was written with great reliance upon Brian Halford's Edgbaston: Fifty Tests