Australia to host Ashes tour match in 'The Alice'

Last Updated: Tue, May 07, 2013 05:14 hrs

An Australian XI will play England in the remote outback town of Alice Springs during what is expected to be hotly contested Ashes tour.

The English squad will travel into the Northern Territory on a charter flight after the Nov. 21-25 first test in Brisbane, play the Australian Chairman's XI on Nov. 29-30 and then fly to Adelaide to prepare for the second test starting Dec. 5.

"We are excited about ... the opportunity to bring elite cricket to the Red Center,'' Cricket Australia marketing spokesman Andrew Ingleton said Tuesday. "When we were informed that Canberra could not host this year's Chairman's XI fixture, we wanted to bring the match to an iconic part of Australia. Alice Springs, set against the backdrop of the MacDonnell Ranges, is an iconic part of our great country and an ideal setting for the game.''

Traeger Park in Alice Springs hosted the Imparja Cup for indigenous teams this year and was selected for the Chairman's XI match because the regular venue at Manuka Oval in the national capital will be under renovation at the time.

Australia plays England in 10 consecutive Ashes tests, commencing with an away series from July.

The match in Alice Springs, which has a population of around 25,000, is one of five non-test tour matches on England's Ashes tour, which starts against a Western Australia XI at Perth on Oct. 31. The town last hosted an international team in 2000, when the West Indies took on a local provincial team.

"It's been 13 years since Traeger Park hosted an international cricket team and I'm delighted this drought will now be broken in November,'' Northern Territory Tourism Minster Matt Conlan said. "The Ashes is one of the biggest events in Australian sport and for Alice Springs to have a slice of the action in between the first and second tests of this highly anticipated series is incredibly exciting.''

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