Cardiff to catch Ashes fever in 2009

Published: Thursday, April 20, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Cardiff's Sophia Gardens has been given the nod to host an Ashes Test in 2009 at the expense of one of English cricket's more familiar venues, Old Trafford in Manchester.

The shocking decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), announced on Thursday, is conditional on an ambitious planned redevelopment of the Gardens being completed in time.

Provided that happens, the 2009 England-Australia matches will be played at the Oval (London), Sophia Gardens, Edgbaston (Birmingham), Headingley (Leeds) and Lor's (London).

To soften the blow, Old Trafford, which has been hosting Test matches since 1884 and was the venue for a last-ball thriller in the 2005 Ashes series, has been assured of hosting matches against the West Indies in 2007 and New Zealand in 2008.

England reclaimed the Ashes from Australia in 2005 and will attempt to hold on to them when they tour Down Under around the end of this year.

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