The news that Cardiff is to host the first Ashes Test match in 2015 has been welcomed by Glamorgan Chief Executive Hugh Morris. Talking to the BBC, Morris said that he was “absolutely delighted”.
The fixtures for next year’s Ashes series were announced on May 12th, with the match at Cardiff followed by the two sides making visits to Lord’s, Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, which are some of England’s more regular Test match venues. The fifth and final Test will be held at The Kia Oval.
It was also announced that Australia will visit Cardiff to play a Twenty20 game after the conclusion of the Ashes series. Following this, the sides will play five One Day International matches at grounds in England.
The announcement follows the stripping from Cardiff of a Test match against the West Indies in 2012, after payments owed to the ECB for a previous Test against Sri Lanka were not paid. Morris no doubt speaks for all Welsh cricket fans that are desperate to see Test Match cricket return to the SWALEC stadium.
The venue is most famous for the hosting of what some have termed the ‘miracle of Cardiff’ in 2009. After being outplayed by the Australians and following failures from the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, Paul Collingwood had put England into a position where defeat could be averted. But with seven overs remaining, a rash cut stroke had Collingwood caught at gully.
It was then left to Jimmy Anderson and the man many considered at the time to be the worst batsman in Test cricket, Monty Panesar, to bat out the rest of the match. What followed was an unexpectedly stoic display of defensive batting and timewasting that will be forever remembered in Ashes folklore, as England held on for the draw.
England have never lost a match playing in Cardiff. Morris and the rest of the board at Glamorgan will hope the SWALEC will continue to be a Test ground that favours the home side, and which the Australians are anxious to visit. England fans will hope that this means overturning Australia’s 5-0 win in the last Ashes series.
If Cardiff can put on a show akin to the one six years before it, Ashes cricket might become a regular fixture in the Welsh capital.