Twenty20 to be curtain raiser for Ashes 2005

Published: Thursday, June 24, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Australia will open next year's Ashes tour of England with the first ever Twenty20 international, the BBC website said.

The touring Australians have agreed to the first ever 20-overs match between two international teams at The Rose Bowl on June 13.

The 20-over format will act as a curtain-raiser for the triangular NatWest Series that will also involve Bangladesh.

Australia will also face England in a three-match NatWest Challenge that starts on July 7 at Headingley.

England have failed to win the Ashes since 1987, and they will hope to reclaim the fabled urn when the two sides contest the five Tests series which begins at Lord's on July 21.

The two teams will also contest three Test matches in August at Edgbaston, Old Trafford and Trent Bridge, before the final Ashes Test match at The Oval on September 8.

The one-off fixture follows a hugely successful County competition in England last summer, which was watched by 250,000 spectators.

Each game lasts just two-and-a-half hours with both teams facing 20 overs and the emphasis is placed on high-speed cricket.

Bowlers jog back to the start of their run-ups and batsmen wait in a baseball-style dug out at the side of the pitch in a bid to speed up the game.

South African cricket has also taken up the the 20-over format, launching the Pro20 Series earlier this year.

2005 Ashes schedule:

Twenty20 International

June 13, England v Australia, The Rose Bowl

NatWest Series

June 16, England v Bangladesh, The Oval

June 18 Australia v Bangladesh, Cardiff

June 19, England v Australia, Bristol

June 21, England v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge (D/N)

June 23, England v Australia, Chester (D/N)

June 25, Australia v Bangladesh, Old Trafford

June 26, England v Bangladesh, Headingley

June 28, England v Australia, Edgbaston (D/N)

June 30, Australia v Bangladesh, Canterbury

July 2, Final, Lord's

NatWest Challenge

July 7, England v Australia, Headingley

July 10, England v Australia, Lord's

July 12, Englandv Australia, The Oval


July 21-25, 1st Test England v Australia, Lord's

August 4-8, 2nd Test England v Australia, Edgbaston

August 11-15, 3rd Test England v Australia, Old Trafford

August 25-29, 4th Test v Australia, Trent Bridge

September 8-12, 5th Test v Australia, The Oval.

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