Old Trafford, the venue for this week's 2nd Test against New Zealand, has been one of England's favourite grounds in recent years. With this in mind I thought it would be interesting to see which home venues England have enjoyed most Test Match success at in recent years.
The period I have chosen is the 2000s, during which England have played extremely well at home. However, some places have proved happier hunting grounds than others. England's overall record in the 2000s is an impressive 31 wins out of 57 Tests, with only 12 losses and 14 draws.
They have won all 3 matches played at Chester-le-Street, though the opposition have been the weakest in the recent Test arena - Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and West Indies. More impressive are England's performances on their quickest and bounciest pitches at The Oval and Old Trafford, where they have played 8 and 7 Tests, respectively. They have won 4 and lost just 1 match at each ground.
Lord's reputation for lifting England's opponents and not being a favourite ground for the home team is a false one. In 17 Tests since 2000 England have won 8 and only lost 3, drawing the other 6. It is Trent Bridge which is actually England's worse venue in recent years, having yielded just 3 wins out of 8 matches, with 3 losses and 2 draws.
Headingly, long thought of as having the most typically English pitch, justifies its reputation, giving England 5 victories to just 2 losses in 7 matches. It also lives up to its billing as a result pitch, with no draws so far in the 2000s. Edgbaston rounds off the home grounds, producing 4 wins for England out of 7 Tests, with only 2 losses.
On this basis England can look forward to this week's Test Match, but should beware the Third Test against the Kiwis. They should also feel confident about the forthcoming series against South Africa, with matches at Lord's, Headingly, Edgbaston and The Oval.
Of course, Test cricket is never as simple as that, but England's overall record at home in recent years is an excellent one and proof that home advantage is perhaps more prevalent in cricket than any other sport.