London: England’s bid to regain the Ashes next year will begin with first Test against Australia at Edgbaston, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Thursday.
Edgbaston, where England are unbeaten since 2009, will get the five-Test series under way from August 1-5, with matches following at Lord’s, Headingley, Old Trafford and the Oval.
Australia recorded a comprehensive 4-0 rout over England at home earlier this year but they have not won an away Ashes series since Steve Waugh’s side triumphed 4-1 in 2001.
The Ashes will kick off the inaugural World Test Championship, which will see nine top-ranked Test nations competing in a league over a two-year cycle.
England are also scheduled to meet Ireland at Lord’s in a four-day Test from July 24-27, their first Test of fewer than five days since the tour of New Zealand in 1971.
“We expect next summer’s inaugural Test Match at Lord’s against our neighbours to be a historic celebration for all Irish cricket fans,” ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said in a statement.
“It will also provide excellent Ashes preparation for England against an Irish team whose impressive performance against Pakistan earlier this year showed they can compete strongly in this form of the game.”
Pakistan will be England’s first opponent of the home international season next year, with their tour featuring five One Day Internationals (ODI) and one Twenty20, as both countries prepare for the 50-overs World Cup starting on May 30.