The Ashes 2013: Ground guide

Sports Mole takes a look at the five grounds that will be hosting Ashes Test matches over the next six weeks.

On Wednesday morning England and Australia will begin the 67th instalment of The Ashes.

It's a contest that will be spread over six weeks and five different English venues as the two nations battle it out for the famous urn.

Here, Sports Mole has reviewed each of the grounds that will play host to one of the biggest rivalries in sport.

Trent Bridge, Nottingham - July 10-14

Capacity: 17,000

England's defence of The Ashes will get underway in Nottingham. While most players will say that Lord's is their favourite ground, based purely on history, Trent Bridge often receives everyone's second vote. It is particularly popular among the purists because the dressing rooms have not been modernised.

As for the pitch, it is one that has produced more results than drawn matches in recent years. The high buildings that surround the Bridgford Road stand keeps the air enclosed, which should benefit the swing bowlers.

Trent Bridge last held an Ashes clash back in 2005 when England won by three wickets.

A general view of Trent Bridge.© PA Photos

Lord's, London - July 18-22

Capacity: 28,000

It is known around the world as the 'home of cricket' - such is the affection felt for Lord's.

Somewhat surprisingly, England's victory there during the last Ashes was their first success over the Aussies at the London-based ground in 75 years.

The slope can give bowlers and batsmen nightmares, but it also a challenge for those that keep wicket. Brad Haddin, the Aussie keeper, highlighted that point back in 2009.

The batsmen will be hoping that the sun is shining because traditionally at Lord's when conditions are bright, swing is almost impossible to find.

A general view of Lord's.© PA Photos

Old Trafford, Manchester - August 1-5

Capacity: 25,000

There have been many changes at Old Trafford since the last Ashes Test there back in 2005. The ground has undergone a £32m revamp which has also seen the square turned around.

If history is anything to go by, the respective captains will be looking to bat first. So often in Manchester has the wicket deteriorated, so the opportunity to get in and set a big total is likely to be taken.

The development of rough is likely to interest Graeme Swann, who has claimed wickets there before.

It's actually been a pitch favoured by the bowlers - Shane Warne produced the 'ball of the century' to Mike Gatting in 1993, while back in in 1956 Jim Laker took 19 Aussie wickets for just 90 runs.

A general view of Old Trafford.© PA Photos

Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street - August 9-13

Capacity: 19,000

In terms of The Ashes, the Riverside Ground will be making a debut this year. It has only held four Tests in total, all of which have been won by England.

Whereas Old Trafford is a pitch where batting first is seen as an advantage, it is the opposite in Durham. In a recent County Championship match, the hosts thought that they had set a good total of 336 runs, but Yorkshire were able to chase it down.

It appears that batsmen find it easier to read what is coming off the track as the match progresses.

A general view of the Riverside Ground.© PA Photos

The Oval, London, August 21-25

Capacity: 23,500

England will have fond recent memories of Ashes matches at the South London ground. Kevin Pietersen made 158 back in 2005, while Jonathan Trott marked his Test debut in 2009 with a century to help England win the series.

It's another wicket that Swann is likely to relish, particularly in the closing stages as the pitch dries out.

The Oval was the first ground to host an Ashes contest way back in 1880 and is traditionally where the series comes to a conclusion in England.

A general view of The Oval.© PA Photos

Shane Warne
Read Next:
On this day: Warne bowls 'ball of the century'
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole



Cricket on LockerDome