Dates confirmed for Ashes tour

Australia's attempt at reclaiming the Ashes lost in September will begin with the first Test at the Gabba on November 23 next year

Cricinfo staff

'You urned it': But can Michael Vaughan retain the prize in Australia? © Getty Images
Australia's attempt at reclaiming the Ashes lost in September will begin with the first Test at the Gabba on November 23 next year. Cricket Australia released the highly anticipated schedule today, which includes five Tests, the one-day VB Series and a Twenty20 international.
England begin the tour with a one-day fixture against the Prime Minister's XI in Canberra on November 10 and will play matches against New South Wales and South Australia before the first Test. The second Test will be at Adelaide starting on December 1 and the third in Perth beginning on December 14 before the Boxing Day and New Year matches conclude the series in Melbourne and Sydney. England, Australia and New Zealand will then play in the VB Series in January and February.
James Sutherland, the Cricket Australia chief executive, said the Ashes would be the biggest event in Australia since the 2000 Olympics and ticket details would be announced on January 10. "Ordinarily we don't release the program dates until six months out from the start of the season," he said. "But we were conscious of the high interest in this tour and the number of people trying to make travel arrangements so we moved to get the dates finalised and announced as quickly as possible."
The Ashes urn, which has returned to Australia only once in 1988, is also expected to tour with MCC planning to exhibit the prize during the Test series. "The MCC has completed restoration work over the past few years to ensure the precious urn is safe to travel," Sutherland said. "It will be a fantastic experience for Australian fans to be able to see this iconic piece of sporting history."
John Carr, the ECB Director of Cricket Operations, said it had been a challenge for the two boards to agree on a schedule, which falls in a relatively tight window between the Champions Trophy and the 2007 World Cup. "It has been agreed that the opening three-day match of the tour against New South Wales will allow participation from our full squad to help ensure that all players participate," he said.
"The schedule is unusual in not providing a one-day warm-up match between the Test and ODI series. This step has been taken as it is in the interests of all three teams participating in the VB Series to ensure that there is a minimum of a two-week break between the end of the series and the report date for the World Cup."
Sutherland also confirmed Australia would travel back to New Zealand for the 2006-07 Chappell-Hadlee Series but the dates for the three fixtures have not been finalised. "We are hoping to schedule the series early in 2007," he said, "in between the end of the VB Series and the start of the World Cup."
Tour dates
Date Match Venue
November 2006  
10 v Australian Prime Minister's XI Canberra
12 - 14 v New South Wales (Practice Match) Sydney
17 -19 v South Australia Adelaide
23 - 27 1st Test Brisbane
December 2006  
1 - 5 2nd Test Adelaide
9 - 10 v Western Australia Perth
14 - 18 3rd Test Perth
26 - 30 4th Test Melbourne
January 2007  
2 - 6 5th Test Sydney