Durham get go-ahead to stage 2013 Ashes clash

Riverside and Oval games confirmed but Lord's could miss out in ECB bidding war

As part of a bewildering array of future international fixtures, Durham was yesterday awarded an Ashes Test. The Riverside at Chester-le-Street will stage a match in the 2013 series, a belated if welcome recognition for a ground which has served a long apprenticeship.

Bizarrely, however, there is no certainty that an Ashes game will be allocated to Lord's. The most famous ground in the world will have to become involved in a bidding process like the other potential venues, which some might perceive to be tawdry and others may think is merely normal practice in a tough, commercial world.

An incomplete list of fixtures issued yesterday by the England and Wales Cricket Board also indicates that the cycle of Ashes series is about to change. Following 2013, Australia are expected next to visit only three years later in 2016.

The intention is then for England to visit Australia in 2017-18 and break the cycle which has meant the sides having to play a World Cup immediately after an arduous Test series in Australia – which, it must be conceded, has affected one side more than the other.

For Durham the delight at being granted an authentic big game came four years late. They expected, and deserved, to have an Ashes match this summer but were outbid, as was every other ground, by Cardiff. This time the Major Match Group recommended the Riverside and the ECB accepted with alacrity.

David Harker, Durham's chief executive, said: "As well as producing a winning team it has also been a goal to bring an Ashes Test match to the region and we're delighted that the North-east sports fans will have the opportunity to watch the ultimate clash between England and Australia on their doorstep."

It is the culmination of a long journey for big time cricket in the North-east. Durham were granted first class status in 1992, won the county championship for the first time last summer and are leading the table this season. The first Test at the Riverside was staged in 2003 and England have won all four of their Tests there.

Only one of the other four 2013 Ashes Tests has been allocated, to The Oval, and the Major Match Group stipulated that bids will be invited to stage them. It is unthinkable that Lord's would not have an Ashes Test, inconceivable that Australia would accept an itinerary without one but money will do most of the talking. If, say, Old Trafford, Trent Bridge and Edgbaston offer more then anything might be possible.

Other matches allocated yesterday go from 2010 to 2016, although matches after 2013 must still be ratified since neither broadcasting rights nor a future tours programme have been agreed. The Rose Bowl in Hampshire, already given its maiden Test in 2011, will also have one in 2014 against India.

It is intended that Australia will revisit England in 2016 after England's tour there in 2014-15 and that England will return in 2017-18 instead of a year later.

While this will avoid clashes with the Cricket World Cup it means that Ashes series in England would in future vie for attention with the Olympic Games wherever they are.

Q&A: How Ashes Test venues are decided

How did Durham secure a Test?

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) accepted the recommendations of a body called the Major Match Group, which seeks to give Test matches to suitable grounds. The capacity at Durham will be 20,000 by 2013 and the club felt hard done by when it missed out this year.

What are the selection criteria?

Money talks. So does geography. The ECB is keen to have the venues for Test matches spread around the country, but Cardiff earned a Test this year simply because they had the money.

But Lord's will have a Test, won't it?

The ECB hasn't guaranteed Lord's an Ashes Test but it seems inconceivable Australia could tour England and not pass through the Long Room.

Why is the Ashes happening in 2016?

The ECB wants to avoid the situation where England play a World Cup after a gruelling Test series, so after coming in 2013 the Baggy Greens will be back in 2016.

Amol Rajan

Ground control: How the candidates for 2013 shape up

Lord's

First Test: 1884, Capacity: 28,000, Ashes Tests: 34

Is the grand old ground still England's HQ following news that it must bid to stage an Ashes Test in 2013? Still the answer if any player is asked where he would most like to strut his stuff.

The Oval

First Test: 1880, Capacity: 23,500, Ashes Tests: 32

England's oldest Test venue – the first meeting with Australia was staged there in 1880 – and its future is secure for the foreseeable future with Tests guaranteed up to 2016.

Headingley

First Test: 1899, Capacity: 17,000, Ashes Tests: 23

Looked as though it might disappear off the radar when there was talk of Yorkshire upping sticks. Future is now settled – and it looks bright with a potentially decisive Test there next week.

Old Trafford

First Test: 1884, Capacity: 19,000, Ashes Tests: 28

Lancashire's old home has been in danger of getting left behind. But OT has plans to fight back and a major redevelopment is in the pipeline. No confirmed Test until 2014, though.

Riverside

First Test: 2003, Capacity: 20,000, Ashes Tests: 0

Shining example of how an international ground should take shape, according to many. England have a good record there, and Durham's reward is to be given an Ashes Test in 2013.

Rose Bowl

First Test: n/a, Capacity: 10,000 (20,000 with temporary seating), Ashes Tests: 0

Will become England's 10th Test venue when it hosts Sri Lanka in 2011. Picturesque, if wide open setting, but with new stands about to shoot up.

Sophia Gardens

First Test: 2009, Capacity: 15,000, Ashes Tests: 1

Praised by one and all, just about, after staging the first Test this summer. Bought its place in the big time by lodging the highest bid but then delivered a match that ran like clockwork.

Trent Bridge

First Test: 1899, Capacity: 17,000, Ashes Tests: 20

Tastefully redeveloped over the last few years and a favourite with spectators, although small, even by English standards. Tests against Pakistan, India and West Indies coming up.

Edgbaston

First Test: 1902, Capacity: 21,000, Ashes Tests: 13

Traditionally, the most atmospheric – although the opposition might prefer the word "intimidating" after hours of non-stop sledging from the terraces. A new pavilion is on its way this winter.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?