Dunedin scores two internationals at University Oval

A crowd of about 4300 packed into the University Oval in Dunedin for the international cricket match between New Zealand and Bangladesh yesterday. Photos: Peter McIntosh
The University Oval in February when New Zealand played Bangladesh. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Cricket tragics can look forward to one of the biggest home international programmes in New Zealand history and Dunedin has not missed out.

The city will host its first twenty20 international when the White Ferns play South Africa at the University of Otago Oval on February 13.

But the main attraction is five weeks later, when the Black Caps play Australia in the twenty20 at the venue.

The match is scheduled for March 24. It is a Tuesday, which will present a challenge if you have to work.

The 2pm start is not ideal either. But it is Australia and the team has not been here since Brett Lee knocked off Adam Parore's helmet at Carisbrook in 2000.

Dunedin Venues Management Ltd chief executive Terry Davies was thrilled with the allocation.

"It's a great result for Dunedin and to have two international matches at the University of Otago Oval is fantastic for fans," he said.

"The atmosphere at a T20 match is always high energy and has a wider appeal than to just the cricketing fan due to the lively nature of the shortened version of the game."

Tickets will be in demand but there will be more than usual available. There is capacity to cater for up to 10,000 fans for the Australia match with the addition of a temporary grandstand and corporate hosted areas.

The purest out there might be a little pipped, though. Dunedin has been overlooked for a test or a one-dayer.

But it is a monster home summer for the Black Caps. England, India and Australia are touring here and you really could not ask for more than that.

The season gets under way when England's team arrives for five T20s and two tests in November and December.

The first test will be hosted at Mt Maunganui's Bay Oval. The venue will be making its test debut, so there will a lot of interest in how the facility scrubs up.

The Black Caps head to Australia in December for three tests against Australia.

India will hit our shores in late January for a bumper tour of five T20s, three ODIs and two tests.

India and New Zealand are currently the No1 and No2-ranked tests sides in the world respectively, so it is tantalising match up.

The Black Caps head back across the ditch for three ODIs against Australia before returning home to play the same opponent in three T20s.

The White Ferns are hosting South Africa in three one-day internationals and five twenty20 fixtures in January and February in preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia in February and March.

All the White Ferns and Black Caps games will be broadcast live.

The New Zealand A team will host India A for three 50-over games and two four-day games as well.

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said outside the two World Cups New Zealand has jointly hosted, he could not recall a more significant home international programme.

"We're simply delighted with the way it's all fitted together," he said.

"It speaks volumes of the regard in which the Black Caps and White Ferns are held that we can attract such a wealth of talent over the course of one summer.

"We're particularly thrilled for all those involved in securing Bay Oval as New Zealand's ninth test venue. A lot of people have worked hard for this ... I'm sure the venue will continue to go from strength to strength."

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