Durham awarded Ashes Test in 2013
Ashes cricket will be heading to the North-East for the first time in 2013, after the England & Wales Cricket Board accepted the recommendation of the independent Major Match Group, and awarded Durham their first chance to host a Test match against Australia.
The MMG, chaired by Lord Morris of Handsworth, also confirmed that The Oval would host Australia in four years' time, as part of their long-term staging agreement, leaving the venues for the three other Ashes Tests, including Lord's, still to be confirmed.
Durham first staged Test cricket at Chester-le-Street in 2003, when Zimbabwe were the visitors, and England have never yet lost any of the four matches at the venue. Planning permission has recently been granted to complete the stadium which will have a capacity of 20,000 plus an on-site hotel and additional conference and banqueting facilities. As reigning County Champions, the decision is final recognition of the progress the county has made since gaining first-class status in 1992.
"As well as producing a winning team it has also been a goal to bring an Ashes Test match to the region and we're delighted that North-East sports fans will have the opportunity to watch the ultimate clash between England and Australia on their doorstep," said David Harker, Durham's chief executive. "Riverside has a renowned reputation for successfully hosting international fixtures and we can't wait to begin our preparations for our biggest game to date."
Durham's chairman, Clive Leach, said: "There has been a great deal of work behind the scenes to ensure that Riverside continues to develop in order to maintain its position as a leading international cricket venue. For an Ashes Test match to be played at the Riverside will be a huge milestone for Durham County Cricket Club and this achievement is testament to the hard work of all involved."
The MMG, which was deciding match allocations for the period 2010 to 2016, also awarded Durham a Test against Sri Lanka in 2016, while Hampshire's Rose Bowl, which has been angling for recognition in recent years after being leapfrogged by Cardiff, has been given a high-profile Test against India in 2014, as part of a seven-match package including five ODIs and a T20I.
"We are absolutely delighted with the decision from the MMG which we see as a ringing endorsement of our plans to become one of the best international cricket venues in world cricket," said Hampshire's chairman, Rod Bransgrove. "The package we received was our No. 1 choice and it leaves us in a very strong position to bid for other available matches in this period."
The allocations (not in match order)
Bangladesh Tests Headingley
Bangladesh ODIs Bristol, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge
Pakistan Tests Edgbaston, Lord's, The Oval and Trent Bridge
Pakistan ODIs Chester-le-Street, Headingley, Lord's, Rose Bowl, The Oval
Australia ODIs Cardiff, Old Trafford, Lord's, Rose Bowl, The Oval
Domestic Twenty20 finals Rose Bowl
To allocate: Pakistan v Australia (2 Tests, 2 T20s); England v Bangladesh (1 Test), Pakistan (2 T20s)
Sri Lanka Tests Cardiff, Lord's, Rose Bowl
Sri Lanka ODIs Edgbaston, Headingley, Old Trafford, The Oval, Trent Bridge
India Tests Edgbaston, Lord's, The Oval, Trent Bridge
India ODIs Cardiff, Chester-le-Street, Lord's, Rose Bowl, The Oval
Domestic Twenty20 finals Chester-le-Street
To allocate: T20 v Sri Lanka; T20 v India
West Indies Tests Edgbaston, Trent Bridge
West Indies ODIs Cardiff, Headingley, The Oval
South Africa Tests Headingley, The Oval
South Africa ODIs Cardiff, Rose Bowl, Trent Bridge
South Africa T20 Old Trafford
Domestic Twenty20 finals Lord's
To allocate: Test and one T20 v West Indies; One Test v South Africa; five ODIs v Australia
New Zealand Tests Headingley, Lord's
New Zealand ODIs Rose Bowl, The Oval
Australia Tests Chester-le-Street, The Oval
Australia ODI Cardiff, Edgbaston, Headingley, Rose Bowl
Australia T20 Trent Bridge x 2
To allocate: Three Tests and three ODIs v Australia; domestic T20 finals day.
Sri Lanka Tests Cardiff, Headingley
Sri Lanka ODIs The Oval
Sri Lanka T20 Rose Bowl
India Tests Old Trafford, Rose Bowl, The Oval
India ODIs Cardiff, Edgbaston, Headingley, Trent Bridge
Domestic Twenty20 finals Edgbaston
To allocate: One ODI v Sri Lanka; one Test, three ODIs and one T20 v India.
New Zealand Tests Headingley
New Zealand ODIs Cardiff, Edgbaston, The Oval
Pakistan Tests Old Trafford, The Oval
Pakistan ODIs Edgbaston, Headingley, Rose Bowl, Trent Bridge
Domestic Twenty20 finals Durham
To allocate: One Test matches, two ODIs and one T20 v NZ; one T20 v Pakistan
Sri Lanka Tests Chester-le-Street
Sri Lanka ODIs Rose Bowl, The Oval
Australia Tests Lord's, The Oval
Australia T20 Cardiff , Trent Bridge
Domestic Twenty20 finals Edgbaston
To allocate: One ODI v Sri Lanka; three Tests, four ODIs v Australia