Three years on, Cardiff is no dream ticket

Astonishingly, seats are still available for the First Test in the Ashes series at Cardiff. It is possible to purchase face-value tickets at £70 each for the second day of the match at Sophia Gardens, the most controversial venue for a match between England and Australia since the game at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, in 1902 (which never staged another Test).

There are also plenty of seats available for the final day of the match, although that is usual. While the revamped stadium will be essentially full, it is still surprising that after three years of promotion and expectation there are still empty spaces with only four days to go.

The ground, which has never staged a Test match, was awarded the game because it won the bidding war orchestrated by the England and Wales Cricket Board. Places such as the Riverside, Durham and the Rose Bowl, Hampshire, simply could not compete with the £3 million bid helped by guarantees from the Welsh Assembly.

It is now incumbent on Glamorgan to provide a match to remember. Not only must the pitch be a paragon offering something to both batsmen and bowlers, it must last the best part of five days. Beyond that the match itself must be efficiently organised for fans.

Only if all those criteria are met will the word "success" cross anybody's lips. Over three years the decision to give the Test to Cardiff has hardly grown less surprising. Enormous credit should be paid for the effort and will that has seen a rickety ground transformed but architectural merit played little part in the reconstruction.

Fears that the pitch will be a raging turner are likely to be unfounded. Few wickets have fallen to spin of any kind this season and the probability is it will be a slow seamer. Well-placed pundits are confidently tipping a draw, which is not what the series needs at all.

As at other grounds, the addition of new seats and stands, as well as people, can affect the behaviour of the ball through the air. The outfield has been relaid and has been finished off in the nick of time.

The stadium itself has been given a new name, which is likely not to feature on any official promotional material of the host broadcaster because of a clash with npower, the company which sponsors Test series in this country.

Around lunchtime on Wednesday, it may be possible to discern if a huge, unnecessary gamble has paid off.

peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits