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England set for Durham Twenty20 date

Chester-le-street will host a Twenty20 international for the first time next summer after England announced their home schedule for 2008.

New Zealand and South Africa are due to tour the country next year and both will play international cricket at the Riverside.

England will play three Tests, a Twenty20 international and five one-dayers against the Black Caps and the same - plus an extra Test - against the Proteas.

New Zealand, who will probably include new Durham signing Scott Styris, are due to play a one-day international against England at the Riverside on June 15. The match will be the first of a five-match series against the World Cup semi-finalists. England will be back in the North-East on August 20 against South Africa, the first Twenty20 international at Durham's headquarters.

England and South Africa have never played each other at Twenty20 cricket, although they should do in September if, as expected, both reach the `Super Eights' stage of the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup.

There will be no Test cricket played in Durham next year, with Lord's (twice), Old Trafford, Trent Bridge, Headingley, Edgbaston and The Oval chosen instead. No ticket details have yet been released for Durham's 2008 games.

In an attempt to cram as much cricket into the schedule as possible, England will break with tradition and start the third Test against South Africa on a Wednesday. The first two Tests against New Zealand and the first two and last two against South Africa will all be played back-to-back.

"The 2008 season has to end in early September to enable England and South Africa to travel to the ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan," explained ECB director of cricket John Carr. "It will include a Wednesday start as well as four Thursday starts and two Friday starts for Test matches. In a busy summer we feel this gives the players the maximum opportunity for rest and recuperation."

The dates and venues of the major domestic finals have also been announced. Twenty20 finals day is at Southampton's Rose Bowl on Saturday, July 26. The Friends Provident Trophy final is due to take place at Lord's on Saturday, August 16. There are reserve days for both finals.

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