England set to host India in five tests in 2021


FILE PHOTO: Cricket - England v India - Fifth Test - Kia Oval, London, Britain - September 11, 2018 England's James Anderson celebrates the wicket of India's Mohammed Shami Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

(Reuters) - The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced a provisional home schedule for 2021 on Wednesday with a five-match test series against India set to headline the English summer.

Sri Lanka and Pakistan are also penned in for limited overs matches between June and July before the first test against India on Aug. 4-8 at Trent Bridge. The final test is scheduled to be held in Manchester from Sept. 10 to Sept. 14.

England were the first side to invite teams after the COVID-19 hiatus this year, with matches held in bio-secure bubbles without fans but the ECB hopes to have spectators return to stadiums with general sale tickets available in January.

"Next year we've got another big international programme to look forward to, with the thrill of a five-test series against India as the centrepiece," ECB CEO Tom Harrison said in a statement.

"While COVID means there's still a great deal of uncertainty, we really hope to be able to welcome fans back into the grounds safely next year to bring that unique atmosphere to stadia across the country."

The England women's team also plans to host South Africa and New Zealand while the Visually Impaired team takes on Australia in a limited-overs series in August.

Provisional England men's schedule

* England v Sri Lanka: Three one-day internationals (ODIs) from June 29

* England v Pakistan: Three ODIs and three Twenty20 matches from July 8

* England v India: Five test matches from Aug. 4

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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