England unveils 2008 summer schedule
According to John Carr, England's director of cricket, the decision was made to allow an early finish to a busy season, enabling both England and South Africa to rest up before travelling to Pakistan for the 2008 Champions Trophy.
"The 2008 season will include a Wednesday start as well as four Thursday starts and two Friday starts," said Carr. "In a busy summer we feel that this sequence gives the players the maximum opportunity for rest and recuperation."
England's first opponents will be New Zealand, whom they face in a three-Test series, starting at Lord's on May 15. A Twenty20 match against the same opponents, on June 13, is the prelude to a five-match one-day series, before the arrival of South Africa for four Tests, starting at Lord's on July 10.
England will also play against South Africa in a one-off Twenty20 match at Chester-le-Street on August 20, followed by five more one-day games, the last of which takes place under floodlights in Cardiff on September 3.
John Perera, the England & Wales Cricket Board commercial director, added: "With the ever-increasing desire to shorten tours it means that the Wednesday start option had to be examined and we are grateful to npower and our broadcast partners - Sky Sports, BBC Radio and Five - for their approval. The ECB will be carefully monitoring the cricketing and commercial impact of a Wednesday start."