When Pakistan arrive in Birmingham for the Edgbaston Test match in August they will be well aware of the stadium’s status as England’s most noisy and passionate home venue.

It is not just coincidence that England have such a great record at Edgbaston. The atmosphere at last year’s Ashes encounter, when six-fours from James Anderson and Steven Finn, allied to two crucial half-centuries from Ian Bell, powered England to an eight-wicket win, was described by many long-time sport-watchers as the best they had experienced.

Is there a better spectacle in British sport than batsmen trying to focus on that tiny red sphere amid the cacophony at Edgbaston as England’s bowlers, roared on by a full-house, charge in?

Pakistan found it all a bit hot to handle on their last Test visit, in 2010, when they were skittled for 72 on a pulsating first day. But the thrill of England’s bowlers dismantling opponents at Edgbaston is nothing new.

It stretches all the way back to the inaugural Test there in 1902: Australia, 36 all out! Remarkably, the Aussies were the first of four Test nations to be rolled over for less than 100 in their first Test innings in Birmingham.

After the Aussies’ 36 (Wilfred Rhodes 11-3-17-7), South Africa played their first Test at Edgbaston in 1924 and mustered only 30 (Arthur Gilligan six for seven, Maurice Tate four for 12). In 1958, New Zealand’s Edgbaston Test bow saw them dismissed for 74 (Fred Trueman five for 31) then nine years later India arrived for the first time and folded for 92, three wickets falling to Bears paceman David Brown.

Pakistan fared a little better in their first Test innings in the Second City, in 1962, making 246 (including one leg-bye) – but their most recent visit, in 2010, pitched them against an England pace-battery in peak form.

The tourists had already suffered in the first Test, at Trent Bridge, where Anderson’s match haul of 11 for 71 underpinned England’s 354-run win. It was a little surprising, then, that when five days later Pakistan captain Salman Butt won the toss at Edgbaston he chose to bat. He may have reflected upon the decision with some regret an hour after lunch when they were all out for 72 courtesy of Anderson (four for 20), Stuart Broad (four for 38) and Steven Finn (two for ten).

After Kevin Pietersen’s 80 and Jonathan Trott’s 55 lifted England into a position of complete control, Graeme Swann pressed home the advantage with six wickets in Pakistan’s second innings. The off-spinner’s haul included a candidate for ball-of-the-century as opener Imran Farhat was bamboozled by a delivery which pitched outside leg-stump and hit the top of off.

It was a brilliant ball which evoked memories of those other ball-of-the-century contenders: Shane Warne to Mike Gatting (Australia v England, Old Trafford, 1993); Ashley Giles to Inzamam-ul-Haq (England v Pakistan, Lahore, 2000) and Brian Halford to Nigel Beasley (Stoneleigh v Ashow, Stoneleigh, 1991).

Another half-century from Trott, allied to one from captain Andrew Strauss, eased England to a nine-wicket win.

Alastair Cook and his team will be aiming for something similar come August in the next instalment of Edgbaston’s spectacular Test match history.

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