New Zealand news June 3, 2014

Test cricket returns to Christchurch

ESPNcricinfo staff

Christchurch will host New Zealand's first home Boxing Day Test for 11 years when international cricket returns to the city in the 2014-15 season. Hagley Oval will become the eighth Test venue in the country and the Boxing Day match against Sri Lanka will mark New Zealand's first game in Christchurch since the city was hit by a major earthquake in 2011.

New Zealand Cricket has released its home schedule for the coming summer, which also features an international debut for the Bay Oval in Tauranga. There will be only two Test matches during the season, against Sri Lanka in Christchurch and Wellington, but 12 one-day internationals will take place in the lead-up to the home World Cup early next year.

Not since New Zealand played Pakistan in Wellington in 2003 has the country hosted a Boxing Day Test, and this year's match in Christchurch will be followed by a second Test at the Basin Reserve from January 3. Christchurch has not hosted a Test since 2006-07 and the only official internationals in the city since the earthquake were two World Cup qualifier ODIs this January, involving Scotland, Canada and Kenya.

"Bringing international cricket back to Christchurch was always a priority for NZC," Lindsay Crocker, NZC's head of cricket, said. "And we feel the Boxing Day Test was a good way to celebrate what will be a very special landmark.

"While our inclination is to play short-form cricket in the holiday period, on this occasion our preference is to play the Tests early so that we can maximise ODI opportunities ahead of the World Cup.

"The original agreement with Sri Lanka provided for a five-match ODI series and two T20s - but by mutual agreement, again with the World Cup in mind, we chose to play seven ODIs. Three very competitive opponents, the chance to play at all our World Cup venues, and to take the team around the country - we think this offers a good lead-in to the World Cup, while still maintaining our commitment to Test cricket."

The home season will begin with three ODIs against South Africa - two in Tauranga and one in Hamilton - in late October, before New Zealand head to the UAE to play Pakistan in three Tests, five ODIs and a T20. After returning home, they face Sri Lanka in two Tests and seven ODIs, before finishing the summer with two ODIs against Pakistan shortly before the World Cup.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    Great news for SriLankan's who are living in NZ. We are waiting last 7 or more years to watch cricket series against Black Caps.

  • chanaka on June 3, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    WOW great news,7ODIs just before the WC in WC venues will be huge advantage for us.It is really difficult to adapt to NZ conditions generally.So spending more than one month with tests & plenty of ODIs will provide definite chance for lions to win consecutive WC triumphs............-:)

  • Blake on June 3, 2014, 11:54 GMT

    @9ST9 Obviously we are all aware the World Cup is around the corner. But it IS bizarre that we are playing seven matches against one team, and only two against another.

  • Dummy4 on June 3, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    i'm happy to see the kiwi's playing so many matches. but the SL test series should be a series of 3 matches, not 2. i know the ODI WC is around the corner, but since their already playing so many ODI's, why not cut down a 7 match ODI series to 5 so that they can play 3 matches. Hopefully South Africa and Pakistan tour again the following year so that they can play some tests in NZ. Australia should play at least a 2 test series in NZ sometime too.

  • Dummy4 on June 3, 2014, 10:13 GMT

    three odi in australia and three odis in nz is better than this will add a lot of experience for hv to play in both aus and nz.

  • Sunil on June 3, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    Great for both nations. SL bats get seasoning for the WC & NZ get a training against the best bowling attack in short format.

    Wonder what the 3 big bullies think of that.

  • John on June 3, 2014, 9:09 GMT

    7 ODIs for Sri Lanka in NZ just before the WC !! :) This is great. All the pieces are falling into place for another WC triumph for Sri Lanka. So, other teams can kiss the WC goodbye now.

  • Chris on June 3, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    So? are everyone suppose to turn up in numbers for once for NZ games? I pretty much doubt.

  • Dummy4 on June 3, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    So barring rain, we have potentially 22 days of cricket and then a world cup. That is great. I can't wait for this summer. Yes I would like to see more tests too but it's a world cup year so we need NZ too play as many ODI's as possible before the WC, we also have a duty to expose other teams to NZ conditions before the WC. Love it!

  • Alex on June 3, 2014, 6:53 GMT

    @DVSK, I think the recent India-NZ series proved Asian teams need exposure to NZ conditions more than NZ needs exposure to asian teams

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