Old Trafford is England's second oldest Test venue and one of the most renowned. It was the venue for the first ever Ashes Test to be held in England in July 1884 and has hosted two Cricket World Cup semi-finals. In 1956, the first 10-wicket haul in a single innings was achieved by England bowler Jim Laker who achieved bowling figures of 19 wickets for 90 runs – a bowling record which is unmatched in Test and first-class cricket. In the 1993 Ashes Test at Old Trafford, leg-spinner Shane Warne bowled Mike Gatting with the Ball of the Century.
Extensive redevelopment of the ground to increase capacity and modernise facilities began in 2009 in an effort to safeguard international cricket at the venue. The pitch at Old Trafford has historically been the quickest in England, but will take spin later in the game.
The site was first used as a cricket ground in 1857, when the Manchester Cricket Club moved onto the meadows of the de Trafford estate. Despite the construction of a large pavilion (for the amateurs – the professionals used a shed at the opposite end of the ground), Old Trafford's first years were rocky: accessible only along a footpath from the railway station, the ground was situated out in the country, and games only attracted small crowds. It was not until the Roses match of 1875 that significant numbers attended a game. When W. G. Grace brought Gloucestershire in 1878, Old Trafford saw 28,000 spectators over three days, and this provoked improvements to access and facilities.
In 1884, Old Trafford became the second English ground, after The Oval, to stage Test cricket: with the first day being lost to rain, England drew with Australia. Expansion of the ground followed over the next decade, with the decision being taken to construct a new pavilion in 1894.