Test cricket returns to Auckland
Auckland's Eden Park will host its first Test in seven years when England play there during their three-Test series next season. New Zealand Cricket has released its schedule for the England tour, which will consist of Tests in Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland, along with three Twenty20 internationals and three ODIs.
Eden Park has not hosted a Test since March 2006, when New Zealand beat West Indies, although it has remained a regular venue for international limited-overs games. David White, the New Zealand Cricket chief executive, said an England Test seemed like a good fit for Auckland, while Dunedin was the logical South Island venue for a Test after Christchurch's ground was affected by last year's earthquake.
"Auckland hasn't hosted a Test match since 2006 and we felt the England tour presented a good opportunity allocate a match to our largest city," White said. "An inbound England tour brings in a large number of supporters who create a wonderful atmosphere and we are sure the people of Auckland will turn out in force to see two quality teams in what promises to be a fantastic occasion.
"We felt it was important to schedule an international match in the South Island and a Test match at University Oval was the logical choice. It was 1966 when the England team last played a Test match in Dunedin so I'm sure the locals will get behind the event. Unfortunately we were again unable to schedule a match in Canterbury due to the lack of a suitable venue for international cricket."
Seddon Park in Hamilton missed on being allocated a Test for the first time since 2006-07, while there was also no room for Napier's McLean Park on the Test calendar. Hamilton and Napier will both host matches during the limited-overs portion of the tour, which runs through February, before England play a four-day warm-up game in Queenstown ahead of the Test series.
February 4 - New Zealand XI v England, Cobham Oval, Whangarei (warm-up match)
February 6 - New Zealand XI v England, Cobham Oval, Whangarei (warm-up match)
February 9 - First T20 international, Eden Park, Auckland
February 12 - Second T20 international, Seddon Park, Hamilton
February 15 - Third T20 international, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
One-day international series
February 17 - First ODI, Seddon Park, Hamilton
February 20 - Second ODI, McLean Park, Napier
February 23 - Third ODI, Eden Park, Auckland
February 27-March 2 - New Zealand XI v England, Queenstown (warm-up match)
March 6-10 - First Test, University Oval, Dunedin
March 14-18 - Second Test, Basin Reserve, Wellington
March 22-26 - Third Test, Eden Park, Auckland