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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence