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As one of the biggest cities in the UK, it’s only right that Manchester should have a top class cricketing facility. Old Trafford cricket ground is the stadium in question, and it’s been an important part of the domestic and international cricket circuit for over a hundred years.
Here’s a guide to the Old Trafford ground in Manchester, together with some essential information for those looking to travel to a game here.
History of Manchester Cricket Ground
Old Trafford Cricket Ground was founded in 1857. It was originally used by the Manchester Cricket Club who were looking for a new and permanent home. Lancashire County Cricket Club were formed a little later, in 1864, and they first played here a year later in a game against Middlesex.
Old Trafford was, however, popular, and following some interest in games against Yorkshire and Gloucestershire in 1875 and 1878, it was decided to improve the location. Those improvements worked so well that Old Trafford became included on England’s list of international grounds.
From those early days, the club began to make some improvements to the buildings, with a pavilion and new seating areas installed. These worked to the extent that the Old Trafford cricket ground soon became part of the new international circuit.
Test cricket began in Australia in 1877, and Old Trafford had the honour of becoming only the second English ground to stage a test match. The stadium welcomed the touring Australians in 1884 and the game ended in a draw.
In the modern day, Old Trafford continues to host international games in all of the existing formats. It was part of the schedule for the Ashes series of 2023, while One Day Internationals have been played here since 1972. The first T20 international to take place in Manchester was between England and New Zealand in 2008.
Capacity and Dimensions
The capacity of the cricket ground is flexible, and this is due to the option of opening a large temporary stand. For regular domestic games, the capacity is a reduced one with space for up to 19,000 spectators.
For international cricket matches, that temporary stand opens and the capacity increases to 26,000. Old Trafford cricket ground also holds concerts. When these take place, the playing surface becomes available and as many as 50,000 people can be in attendance.
Old Trafford can provide one of the bigger playing surfaces among English cricket grounds. The boundaries on the square side of the ground are longer, and can reach up to 77 and 65 metres. The straight boundaries are measured at 73 metres and 70 metres.
Those straight boundaries are named after two legends of Lancashire cricket. Old Trafford boasts the James Anderson end and the Brian Statham end.
How to Find Old Trafford Cricket Ground
Old Trafford is in the Trafford area of Greater Manchester, quite close to Salford. There are excellent transport links here, and the cricket ground is right next to the Old Trafford Metrolink station.
The Metrolink runs into Manchester Piccadilly mainline station, which provides train services right across the country.
For overseas visitors, Manchester has an airport, while anyone travelling by road will find a network of motorways, depending on where they are commuting from.
Tickets and Seating Plan
This is a big international stadium and there is high demand for the major matches. With that in mind, anyone wanting to attend a test match, one day international or T20i should always look to buy their tickets in advance.
These can be purchased online from the Old Trafford ticket office. For smaller county games, it’s unlikely that the Manchester ground will sell out, so it should be possible to walk up and buy tickets on the day.
The temporary stand is vast when it is in operation. Like other seating around the ground, it also extends to a great height, so it’s possible to get a real ‘bird’s eye view’ of the cricket. Stands are numbered alphabetically between A and E. Stand D is generally known as a party stand, so it will be a lively location for big international games.
Other stands, A, B, C and E will be quieter and are more popular with those looking to focus on the action.
Owners, Operators and Tenants
The ground at Manchester is owned and operated by Lancashire Cricket. The body looks after the interests of the club, and has recently overseen major development which introduced new buildings such as The Point.
Lancashire County Cricket Club are the main users of the Old Trafford Ground. They have been here since 1865 and continue to play the majority of their first class games here. The T20 team is known as the Lancashire Lightning and most games in the Blast competition also take place at Old Trafford.
The ground in Manchester is also one of eight stadiums used for The Hundred. This is English cricket’s newest competition, played in a unique format, and Old Trafford becomes home to the Manchester Originals whenever The Hundred is played.
Other Sports Played At The Old Trafford Cricket Ground
No other sports are currently played at the Old Trafford cricket ground. The facility is just a short walk from Manchester United’s stadium, also known as Old Trafford, so football fans in the vicinity have everything they need.
Old Trafford cricket ground has, however, hosted a number of music concerts, including performances by Foo Fighters, R.E.M and legendary Manchester band Oasis. Concerts continue to be hosted at Old Trafford, but cricket is the only sport to take place here.
Manchester Cricket Ground Records
The Old Trafford cricket ground has seen many records set across its long history. The best match figures in a test here is also a world record, and it’s one that may never be broken.
In 1956, during the Ashes series between England and Australia, Jim Laker took an incredible 19 wickets for 90 runs, including figures of 10/53 in the tourists’ second innings.
Despite those efforts, Jim Laker is not the leading test wicket taker at Old Trafford. That record is held by Alec Bedser, who took 51 wickets in just seven tests here.
The highest individual score in a test match at Old Trafford was 311 by Bob Simpson for Australia against England in 1964.
The highest test run scorer at present is Joe Root, who had scored 874 runs by the end of the Old Trafford Ashes test in 2023.