LONDON: England will stage a home Ashes Test in Wales for the first time in the 2009 series against Australia.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Thursday that a refurbished Sophia Gardens in Cardiff will host one of the five Ashes Tests in three years' time instead of traditional venue Old Trafford in Manchester, which has been hosting Tests since 1884.

"We congratulate Cardiff on joining the list of Category A (Test match) venues and express our gratitude for the support which the Glamorgan club has received from the Welsh Assembly and Cardiff City Council for its development plans," said Bill Morris, chairman of the ECB-appointed Major Match Group.

The group was created to draw up a list of Test match venues from 2007-2009. The 2009 Ashes will be held at The Oval, Cardiff, Edgbaston, Headingley and Lord's after a two-Test series against Zimbabwe.

Test matches in 2007 will be at Chester-le-Street, Headingley, Lord's and Old Trafford against the West Indies and at The Oval, Lord's and Trent Bridge against India.

In 2008, England will host New Zealand at Lord's, Old Trafford and Trent Bridge and then South Africa at The Oval, Edgbaston, Headingley and Lord's. AP

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