England’s 2013 schedule sees Ashes debut for Durham

THE England and Wales Cricket Board have released the itinerary for next year’s international fixtures, with Trent Bridge playing host to the first Ashes Test.

It is another packed schedule for England, with series against New Zealand in all three formats between 16 May and 27 June before the world’s top-eight teams contest the Champions Trophy.

The Oval, Cardiff and Edgbaston are the home grounds for that tournament but, as ever, the focus will be on the arrival of Australia.

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They will play two four-day warm-ups, against Somerset and Worcestershire, before the opening Test in Nottingham on 10 July. The second Test, at Lord’s, follows immediately on July 18 before Australia face Sussex in another tour match at Hove. The next two Tests are also back to back, with Old Trafford the venue for the third match, as it was in the memorable 2005 series, and Durham’s first taste of Ashes cricket coming in the penultimate match of the series, starting on 9 August.

The tourists then have a two-day fixture at Northampton before the sides meet again at The Oval, where England have clinched the urn for the last two home series.

Having announced on Thursday his shock retirement from limited-overs cricket, Kevin Pietersen’s international commitments will end on 25 August, while his colleagues contest two Twenty20s and five one-day matches against the old enemy as well a stand alone trip to Malahide to face Ireland. The final match on the calendar, a 50-over clash with Australia, takes place at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl on September 16 – four days later than its 2012 equivalent.

ECB chief executive David Collier said: “The prospect of England defending the Ashes on home soil, the world’s top eight teams competing in the ICC Champions Trophy, and a full programme of 50-Over and T20 International cricket will provide rich pickings for cricket fans next summer.”

Collier also referred to the decision to hand Lord’s the first Test of the summer against New Zealand, having initially awarded the fixture to Cardiff.

Ticket sales for last summer’s Test against Sri Lanka were disappointing and a compromise deal was reached which saw Glamorgan trade their Test for the Champions Trophy fixtures.

“We are delighted that Cardiff will be used as a host venue for the ICC Champions Trophy and stage a semi-final,” said Collier. “Cardiff was originally scheduled to stage next summer’s first Investec Test match and following further discussions between ECB, Glamorgan CCC, and MCC, this match will now be played at Lord’s. We are grateful to both parties for their co-operation.”

Full itinerary

10-14 July: Trent Bridge

18-22 July: Lord’s

1-5 Aug: Old Trafford

9-13 Aug: Durham

21-25 Aug: The Oval