Eight Warwickshire players have played for England in the Ashes at Edgbaston. The seventh was Ian Bell who did so three times - in 2005, 2009 and 2015 - and each of those games are very special to him in different ways.
Bell is the only Warwickshire player to have played in three Ashes Test matches at Edgbaston – and each of them, spread over a decade, has a special resonance for him.
The three matches arrived at very different points in his mighty England career – they were the fifth, 47th and 113th of his 118 Tests.
In 2005, as a 23-year-old just fledging in Test cricket, he took part in the amazing match that at last turned the Ashes tide, which had for so long engulfed England, in their favour. The 2009 Test marked his recall to the team after being dropped earlier in the year, a recall which he celebrated with a half-century and from which he was never to look back. In 2015, he played a massive individual part in a crucial win with two half-centuries in a low-scoring game.
That last day of the Edgbaston Test in 2005 was just amazing to be a part of with a full house even though it could have been all over in five minutes. I was fielding at short leg to Freddie Flintoff and could almost feel the noise rippling out across the ground.Ian Bell
Few men have felt greater pride than Bell at representing their country. And never was he more proud than when facing the old enemy on England’s behalf at his beloved home county ground .
“All the Edgbaston Ashes Tests that I played in are very special to me,” Bell said.
“2005 came very early on in my Test career and was brilliant for me at that stage. I think I learned more during that series than at any other time. I was a very young player and playing in that series showed me what you have to do, not just to be an international cricketer, but to stay an international cricketer.
“That Australian side was perhaps the best they ever had. It was coming towards the end of their era but just to play against the likes of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting, Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden was amazing. It wasn’t my most productive series but I learned so much.
“That last day of the Edgbaston Test in 2005 was just amazing to be a part of with a full house even though it could have been all over in five minutes. The noise from the Hollies Stand was incredible. I was fielding at short leg to Freddie Flintoff and could almost feel the noise rippling out across the ground. Edgbaston is unique like that, when you are standing in the slips and can’t hear what the bloke next to you is saying. No ground cranks up the atmosphere like Edgbaston.
“Then in the 2009 Test I was recalled after being dropped after the West Indies tour earlier in the year. I had started the season well for Warwickshire and was desperate to get back in the England team and Edgbaston was the perfect place, the ground I love and where I feel most at home.
“I scored some runs and although the Test petered out due to the weather that was the game that really kick-started my career. I wasn’t left out again until I’d played 118 Tests.”
Then came 2015 and the fast-forward Test. On the first day, Australia, having chosen to bat, were rattled out for 136 and England replied with 133 for three by the close thanks mainly to Bell’s 51-ball half-century. That set up yet another England win at Edgbaston as they chased down 121, again thanks to Bell who went in at 11 for one, when Alastair Cook was bowled by Mitchell Starc, and made an unbeaten 65 (90 balls, ten fours) to see his side home by seven wickets.
“We did have a chuckle about Australia batting first because they always used to do that out of bravado,” Bell recalled. “Whatever the conditions, even if they were decent for bowling, they would bat first and try to stack up a big score. In 2015 we would have bowled so were very pleased when they chose to bat.
“The Hollies Stand was in overdrive, as it often seems to be when a pace bowler gets into a spell. That’s when the noise really builds, when the likes of Freddie Flintoff or Steve Finn or James Anderson are charging in.
“The Edgbaston crowd is definitely something else for the batsmen to contend with and that day the guys bowled superbly, the catching was excellent and it was just a brilliant day – the sort that Edgbaston seems to provide so often in Test cricket.”
Limited tickets left for 2023 Major Matches
Only limited tickets are left for our programme of Major Matches in 2023 – with the first four days of our Men’s Ashes Test now sold out.
Over 13,000 tickets have been sold for our Women’s Ashes IT20, while 95% of tickets have gone for our Men’s IT20 against New Zealand. Last few tickets are also left for Vitality Blast Finals Day.