Cardiff to host first Ashes Test
Glamorgan have pulled off a major coup after the ECB awarded Cardiff the opening Ashes Test for next summer.
The announcement was made public on Friday, and the first Test is set to get underway at the newly refurbished Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on July 8, which is a Wednesday instead of the traditional Thursday.
The ground has been undergoing a £9.4million refurbishment since it was announced in 2006 that it had won the right to host its maiden Test match. The capacity will have been raised from 5,500 to 15,643 in just under two years. The first Test of the famous 2005 series took place at Lord's, but Australia will not have fond memories of Cardiff, after their shock defeat against Bangladesh in that summer's NatWest Series.
David Collier, the ECB's chief executive, said: "Already there is great expectation surrounding the Ashes Test Series which will follow the 2009 Twenty20 World Championships in an exciting summer of cricket for cricket followers.
'We have been in full consultation with the England management about the structure of the series and our summer programme in 2009 and this was ECB's preferred programme . I think everyone is now looking forward to the summer with relish."
Cricket Australia's CEO, James Sutherland, said: "While it's still more than a year away, the 2009 Ashes Series is already generating significant interest both here and in the UK. The 2005 series was a remarkable contest and the catalyst for huge growth in our game Australia and the UK. I'm sure that the 2009 Ashes will be another eagerly anticipated series."
Commenting on the announcement, Kevin Pietersen said: "As a member of the victorious England team in 2005, I'm looking forward to facing the Australian team again on home soil. The 2009 series promises some great cricket, at some great venues and no doubt some tough challenges along the way.
"I'm pleased that interest in cricket continues to grow and the spectators can look forward to another thrilling Ashes duel," said Pietersen, "arguably the biggest cricket contest of them all."
In addition to Cardiff and Lord's, next summer's other venues will be Edgbaston, Headingley and The Oval.
The Ashes itinerary
Wed 8 - Sun 12 July, 1st Test, Cardiff
Thu 16 - Mon 20 July, 2nd Test, Lord's
Thu 30 July - Mon 3 Aug, 3rd Test, Edgbaston
Fri 7 - Tue 11 Aug, 4th Test, Headingley
Thu 20 - Mon 24 Aug, 5th Test, The Oval