BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — England captain Eoin Morgan is hoping to take advantage of the Edgbaston effect in the Cricket World Cup semifinal against Australia on Thursday.
Ahead of England's first semifinal appearance since 1992, Morgan and his teammates trained on the Birmingham pitch Wednesday, finding time to kick a football around a ground that often has raucous soccer-style atmosphere on match days.
"I think that is part and parcel of being the hosts, a little bit of home advantage," Morgan said. "I think it plays a part here at Edgbaston. There is a reason we do have a lot of success here. The wicket tends to suit us, but also the support as well."
Australia's players can expect endless ribbing from a partisan crowd, some of it likely turning outright hostile for opener David Warner and former captain Steve Smith after their bans for a ball-tampering controversy last year.
More importantly for Morgan's men, Edgbaston appears to have an equalizing effect for England.
England has won 10 of the last 12 ODI games against Australia, but the Australians have won four straight where it really matters — in World Cup play, where England last beat Australia in 1992.
But throw in "The E Factor" and the stats offer England fans some comfort ahead of the visit of the five-time champion.
England has won its last 10 matches against opponents in all formats at Edgbaston, including four ODIs; England has beaten Australia in three straight ODI games at Edgbaston; Australia has failed to win in nine matches at Edgbaston across all formats, and its last win of any kind here was a test match in 2001.
Despite all this, Australia captain Aaron Finch takes a generous view of Edgbaston.
"It's a great crowd to play in front of, regardless whether you are on the receiving end of some good banter," Finch said Wednesday at the ground. "I think although they can be quite parochial at times, it is always good fun. They sing some good tunes out there."
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