I am unsure if there is any worth in doing a preview for the Test today. I could easily do it tomorrow. The last images I saw were of an Edgbaston ground with puddles on it. Most of England seems just as wet.

At one of the venues for the Domestic Twenty20 quarter finals today they could have set up a toddlers pool at long on, and long off, and part of midwicket. Tomorrow’s weather at Edgbaston is not supposed be any better.

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The poor ground staff are working a full 24-hour shift (curries are being brought in for them), but you’d think that will be in vain. Yes they can dry water up quickly here, but when it keeps raining and the puddles settle in the outfield even state of the art drainage (which Edgbaston doesn’t have) is no good.

The pitch has now been covered for a couple of days, it was brown and flat when it was first covered, now it could be overrun with weeds for all the groundsman knows. Last week the groundsman said he was having trouble even coming up with a pitch, describing the turf as “a bit like jelly” from all the rain. It cleared up long enough for him to create a playing surface, but who knows when we will see play.

This is the venue where Australia’s ’05 Ashes campaign committed seppuku. Glenn McGrath rolled his ankle, Ricky Ponting lost his frame of reference and Kasprowicz and Lee couldn’t quite get Australia home.

Luckily for Australia their Ashes campaign started derailing on the first day of Lord’s, so Edgbaston shouldn’t hamper them too much. The good news for Australia is that Kevin Pietersen is out for the rest of the Ashes. The bad news is that unless this pitch has discovered some serious green grass while undercover the chances of a result in this Test are very slim. Educated cricket writers, with access to windows and the BBC Weather site, are thinking this Test will be lucky to get three days play.

Australia had no idea what selection changes they were going to do before the rain set in, now they haven’t seen the pitch, so they will have to make their choices on the day. If it is green and spongy, Clark or McDonald could come in for Johnson or Hauritz. If it is brown and hard, North might go for Watson. The truth is they don’t know, so I just put names into a hat and drew them out to fill in my column.

The highlight of this Test might be when Shane Warne commentates while Ian Bell bats. Warne nicknamed him the Sherminator after the nerdy character in American Pie and he has a special distaste for the stylish and yet easy to get out ginger batsman.

Unfortunately that could be the only highlight.

*Crikey’s extensive Ashes coverage can be found here.

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Peter Fray
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