Cardiff to stage 2015 Ashes opener
A file picture taken on November 20, 2014 shows England captain Alastair Cook (left) and his Australian counterpart Michael Clarke posing with the Ashes Urn on the eve of the first Ashes Test match at the Gabba in Brisbane - by Saeed Khan
Monday saw the England and Wales Cricket Board announce the international schedule for its 2015 home season.
And it was the choice of the Welsh capital ground to stage the first Test against Australia, starting on July 8, that was arguably the most eye-catching decision.
England were whitewashed 5-0 by their oldest foes in Australia during the 2013/14 Ashes, a reverse which led Andy Flower to stand down as team coach and be replaced by Peter Moores.
It was at Cardiff where England and Australia played out a thrilling draw in the 2009 Ashes opener as the hosts last-wicket pair of James Anderson and Monty Panesar held out to deny the tourists victory.
That result sent England on their way to a 2-1 series win after a 5-0 drubbing 'Down Under' in 2006/07 and the first of three consecutive Ashes campaign triumphs.
The remainder of the 2015 Ashes will see Tests played at Lord's, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge and The Oval.
Prior to the Australia series, England will face New Zealand who, in common with their trans-Tasman rivals, were in England as a recently as last year, for Test and one-day series.
As was the case in 2013, the England-New Zealand Tests will take place at Lord's and Headingley.
New Zealand and Australia in UK and Ireland in 2015:
May 08-11: v Somerset, Taunton
May 14-17: v Worcestershire, New Road
May 21-25: 1ST TEST, Lord's
May 29-Jun 02: 2ND TEST, Headingley
Jun 06: v Leicestershire, Grace Road
Jun 09: 1ST ODI, Edgbaston (D/N)
Jun 12: 2ND ODI, The Oval (D/N)
Jun 14: 3RD ODI, Southampton
Jun 17: 4TH ODI, Trent Bridge (D/N)
Jun 20: 5TH ODI, Chester-le-Street
Jun 23: T20, Old Trafford (D/N)
Jun 25-28: v Kent, Canterbury
Jul 01-04: v Essex, Chelmsford
Jul 08-12: 1ST TEST, Cardiff
Jul 16-20: 2ND TEST, Lord's
Jul 23-25: v Derbyshire, Derby
Jul 29-Aug 02: 3RD TEST, Edgbaston
Aug 06-10: 4TH TEST, Trent Bridge
Aug 14-16: v Northamptonshire, Northampton
Aug 20-24: 5TH TEST, The Oval
Aug 27: ODI v IRELAND, venue tbc
Aug 31: T20 v ENGLAND, Cardiff
Sep 03: IST ODI, Southampton (D/N)
Sep 05: 2ND ODI, Lord's
Sep 08: 3RD ODI, Old Trafford (D/N)
Sep 11: 4TH ODI, Headingley
Sep 13: 5TH ODI, Old Trafford
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