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Bulawayo to host first Test in five years

Bulawayo lasted hosted a Test match in 2011 AFP

Bulawayo's Queens Sports Club will host its first Test in almost five years when New Zealand tour Zimbabwe in July-August 2016. The venue is scheduled to host both Tests on the tour, which start on July 28 and August 6 respectively.

The last Test played at the Queens Sports Club was also between Zimbabwe and New Zealand, in November 2011, and was a thriller which New Zealand won by 34 runs.

Since then, Harare Sports Club has been the preferred venue for Zimbabwe's home Tests, mostly because of financial considerations. With most of Zimbabwe's players based in Harare and most international flights landing in Harare, accommodation and transport costs are minimised by staging matches there.

In 2013, Bangladesh were due to play a Test in Bulawayo after their Harare fixture but, in a cost-cutting measure, the second game was staged in Harare as well. Moreover, at the time, Queens Sports Club was understood to have been so poorly maintained that it would not have been ready to host a Test.

The ground has since hosted 17 ODIs, including matches against Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan and South Africa, and four T20s. It will also host the second of two four-day games between South Africa A and Zimbabwe A prior to the New Zealand tour.

New Zealand are due to spend a significant part of the next two months in southern Africa. They are holding a camp in Johannesburg from July 11, before traveling to Zimbabwe on July 20. They will play a three-day warm-up match and two Tests there as well as two Tests in South Africa.