Old Trafford, Durham gain 2013 Ashes tests

LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester's revamped Old Trafford is back on the Ashes schedule for 2013 while Durham will host the Australians in a test for the first time, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Thursday.

The 2009 Ashes series in England, which the home side won 2-1 before heading to Australia and triumphing there 3-1 earlier this year, started with the first ever test in Cardiff but the Welsh venue misses out in two years' time.

Sophia Gardens instead has won a one-day international against the Australians in 2013 and a test the next time England's old rivals tour again in 2015, beating Southampton's the Rose Bowl in the bidding.

Old Trafford was left off the rota in 2009 despite a memorable drawn test during the epic 2005 series with the facilities no longer deemed up to scratch.

A redevelopment including rotating the square and a new media centre have done the trick.

Lord's, Trent Bridge and The Oval will also stage tests during the 2013 Ashes series.

Durham's ground in Chester-le-Street held its first test against Zimbabwe in 2003 but with a capacity of around 17,000, its choice ahead of Birmingham's larger, more traditional and recently redeveloped Edgbaston could prove controversial.

Ageing Headingley in Leeds misses out on Ashes tests altogether in 2013 and 2015.

"2011 has been an historic year for cricket in England and Wales," ECB Chief Executive David Collier said in a statement explaining why the traditional pool of Ashes grounds will continue to be swelled.

"On the field the England team retained the Ashes and became the number one test nation in the world. Off the field the board has demonstrated today the commitment to grow our sport at all levels and to maintain the highest professional standards."

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