Ashes: ECB announces schedule for 2015 series; Cardiff to stage opener

London: England will be hoping history repeats itself when their bid to regain the Ashes next year starts in Cardiff. Today 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.

Alistiar Cook and Michael Clarke pose with the urn before the start of the 2013 Ashes

The remainder of the 2015 Ashes will see Tests played at Lord's, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge and The Oval. Last year, England triumphed 3-0 on home soil before shortly afterwards surrendering the Ashes in tame fashion in the return series. Australia captain Michael Clarke urged Aussie fans to turn out in force in 2015.

"Last summer at home the crowds got right behind us and it really spurred us on", Clarke said in a Cricket Australia statement. "We know there are plenty of Australians in the UK and for those that might be considering making the long journey, the efforts will certainly be appreciated by the team," he added.

Australia will begin the one-day leg of their tour against Ireland on August 27, with England also due to face the Irish -- one of the world's leading non-Test nations -- on a date still to be confirmed. "We are thrilled to welcome both England and Australia to Ireland once again," said Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom. 

Itinerary (Australia's Tour of England 2015)

June 25-28: v Kent, Canterbury

July 01-04: v Essex, Chelmsford

July 08-12: 1ST TEST, Cardiff

July 16-20: 2ND TEST, Lord's

July 23-25: v Derbyshire, Derby

July 29-August 02: 3RD TEST, Edgbaston

August 06-10: 4TH TEST, Trent Bridge

August 14-16: v Northamptonshire, Northampton

August 20-24: 5TH TEST, The Oval

August 27: ODI v IRELAND, venue tbc

August 31: T20 v ENGLAND, Cardiff

September 03: 1ST ODI, Southampton (D/N)

September 05: 2ND ODI, Lord's

September 08: 3RD ODI, Old Trafford (D/N)

September 11: 4TH ODI, Headingley

September 13: 5TH ODI, Old Trafford 

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