By Connor Steel
THE AGEAS BOWL will become the tenth stadium in England to host an Ashes Test match in 2027 as part of an agreement for upcoming international fixtures; the English Cricket Board (ECB) detailing a full seven year calendar of men’s and women’s cricket following their decision to evenly spread test venues outside London.
The news was confirmed on Wednesday morning (June 14) and means that the Southampton-based ground will host its first England v Australia test match in just four years time. It joins Trent Bridge, Edgbaston, Lords, and the Oval in holding the famously iconic series with the five-match 2023 Ashes due to start late this week.
Hosting an Ashes match is seen as a massive achievement for the stadium, which was built in 2001 and was redeveloped seven years later in order to host larger matches. Its capacity currently stands at 15,000 but the county regularly use 2 temporary stands for ‘high profile games’; which expands availability to 25,000 tickets.
This development further caps a successful period for the ground, which was chosen as the venue for men’s England test matches back in 2020 due to its additional hotel facilities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to this record Southampton further held the World Test Championship Final in 2021 with a largely limited crowd.
Aside from this Ashes match in 2027, the Ageas Bowl will host a test encounter between England and India in the summer of 2030 alongside one other five-day game twelve months later. The stadium will further host one Twenty-20 and One Day International tie annually between 2025 and 2031 against unknown opposition.
Southampton will also be host multiple white ball matches involving the women’s international team over the next seven years; these games taking place in 2025, 2026, 2028 and 2030. This will build up to the stadium hosting the only women’s test match between England and Australia in 2023 as part of a multi-format series.
It is understood that these new allocations were warmly welcomed by the counties involved, with further high profile test games being added in comparison to the last staging agreement. This includes a five game series against India next summer, with a repeat due to be held in 2030 as part of a World Test Championship cycle.
Officials state that this information will allow the counties to invest sustainably into their stadium development and improving fan experiences over time, with full details about these fixtures to be confirmed in due course. But the ECB reserve the right to change these grounds at all times, as seen after a racism scandal last year.
PICTURED BY ALAMY (2NTC49C): General view of England match at Ageas Bowl back in early June 2019.