MELBOURNE: Edgbaston will host the opening match of next year’s Ashes, with Old Trafford and Headingley joining Lord’s and The Oval as the other venues for a series that will be prefaced by a historic maiden Test match against Ireland at Lord’s – a four-day match from July 24-27.
According to Cricinfo, the Ashes, which will follow the completion of the 2019 World Cup, be the first to be played as part of the new ICC Test Championship.
The series gets underway on August 1 in Birmingham, the venue of arguably the most famous finish in Ashes history, when England beat Australia by two runs in 2005.
After a week’s break, the teams will then move to Lord’s for the second Test, beginning on August 14, before heading north to Headingley – which by then will have been fully refurbished following the rebuilding of the new Football Stand – for the third Test on August 22-26.
Old Trafford will host the fourth Test from September 4-8 – the ground’s first Ashes Test since 2013 – before the series is wrapped up at The Oval from September 12-16.
There is, as expected, no Ashes Test allocated to arguably Australia’s least favourite venue in England – Trent Bridge, where they succumbed to 60 all out on the first morning of the 2015 Ashes, and where they have lost each of their last three Tests dating back to 2005.
“Next summer’s schedule – with an ICC Cricket World Cup and an Ashes Series at its heart – is truly a season to savour for cricket fans of all ages, nationalities and cultures,” said Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive.
“It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for us to build an even bigger following for all formats of the game.
“There is nothing more important to England cricket fans than an Ashes Series. With the added element of being England’s first Test series in the new World Test Championship, it’s a hugely exciting prospect and we anticipate unprecedented demand for tickets.
“We would love to see fans from all over the world getting to experience the unique atmosphere of an Ashes Test match after the ICC Cricket World Cup.”
On the prospect of a maiden Test match against Ireland, who played their inaugural match against Pakistan at Malahide in May, Harrison added:
“We fully supported the ICC’s decision to award Full Membership to Cricket Ireland and we expect next summer’s inaugural Test Match at Lord’s against our neighbours to be a historic celebration for all Irish cricket fans.
“It will also provide excellent Ashes preparation for England against an Irish team whose impressive performance against Pakistan earlier this year showed they can compete strongly in this form of the game.”
England’s schedule is completed by a five-ODI and one T20 series against Pakistan in May, which will serve as a warm-up for England’s World Cup campaign, which begins with an opening fixture against South Africa at The Oval on May 30.