Christchurch gets Boxing Day Test

New Zealand

Christchurch's Hagley Oval is poised to host New Zealand's first Boxing Day Test in more than a decade, and the first ever in the South Island, in the 2014/15 home fixture list.

Christchurch's Hagley Oval is poised to host New Zealand's first Boxing Day Test in more than a decade, and the first ever in the South Island, in the 2014/15 home fixture list.

Starved of international cricket since the 2011 earthquake, Christchurch makes a return to New Zealand Cricket's international programme, with Hagley Oval being awarded both the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka and the opening One Day International against the same opponents.

Hagley Oval will later host the opening match of the World Cup 2015, also against Sri Lanka. Another highlight of the fixture list is confirmation of Tauranga's Bay Oval as the country's newest international arena.

NZC Head of Cricket Lindsay Crocker said he was delighted to announce the return of international cricket to Canterbury, and to confirm Hagley Oval as the country's eighth Test venue.

"Bringing international cricket back to Christchurch was always a priority for NZC," said Crocker. "And we feel the Boxing Day Test was a good way to celebrate what will be a very special landmark."

NZC opted to schedule the Test matches in the holiday period this summer, in order to allow the Black Caps an uninterrupted run of ODIs ahead of CWC 2015.

Crocker added: "While our inclination is to play short-form cricket in the holiday period, on this occasion our preference is to play the Tests early so that we can maximise ODI opportunities ahead of the CWC."

The Black Caps will test themselves against three strong ODI sides at home this summer, as first South Africa, and then Sri Lanka and Pakistan visit.

Between the South African and Sri Lankan series they will travel to the United Arab Emirates to play Pakistan in three Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20.

"The original agreement with Sri Lanka provided for a five-match ODI series and two T20s – but by mutual agreement, again with the CWC in mind, we chose to play seven ODIs," said Crocker.

"Three very competitive opponents, the chance to play at all our World Cup venues, and to take the team around the country, we think this offers a good lead-in to the CWC, while still maintaining our commitment to Test cricket."

<b>Fixtures:</b>

<b>South Africa</b><br>1st ODI Tuesday 21 October, Bay Oval, Tauranga – Day<br>2nd ODI Friday 24 October, Bay Oval, Tauranga – Day<br>3rd ODI Monday 27 October, Seddon Park, Hamilton – D/N

<b>Sri Lanka</b><br>1st Test 26 – 30 December, Hagley Oval, Christchurch<br>2nd Test 3 – 7 January, Hawkins Basin Reserve, Wellington

1st ODI Sunday 11 January, Hagley Oval, Christchurch – Day<br>2nd ODI Thursday 15 January, Seddon Park, Hamilton – D/N<br>3rd ODI Saturday 17 January, Eden Park, Auckland – D/N<br>4th ODI Tuesday 20 January, Saxton Oval, Nelson – Day<br>5th ODI Friday 23 January, University Oval, Dunedin – Day<br>6th ODI Sunday 25 January, University Oval, Dunedin – Day<br>7th ODI Wednesday 29 January, Westpac Stadium, Wellington – D/N

<b>Pakistan</b><br>1st ODI Saturday 31 January, Westpac Stadium, Wellington – D/N<br>2nd ODI Tuesday 3 February, McLean Park, Napier – D/N

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