Ashes to Ashes: The Australia vs. England series continues apace in the month of December with three crucial Test matches
As we fast approach Christmas, there are a raft of eye-catching international series across all three forms of the game to keep you occupied no matter which team you follow.
To get you in the mood, we are here to preview each and every one of those upcoming head-to-heads to be staged in the month of December.
Dec. 5-9: Second Test (Adelaide)
Dec. 13-17: Third Test (Perth)
Dec. 26-30: Fourth Test (Melbourne)
The much anticipated 2013/14 Ashes series will surely be decided in the next month, with Alastair Cook’s men looking to fight back against a rampant Australia side.
However, with the middle of those three Test matches to be played at the WACA—a venue where the tourists have only won once since 1979—the urn could very well be back in Aussie hands by the end of December.
Meanwhile, England will be hoping that the return to fitness of all-rounder Tim Bresnan—possibly as early as the second Test in Adelaide—provides them with the impetus to get back to winning ways.
Dec. 3-7: First Test (Dunedin)
Dec. 11-15: Second Test (Wellington)
Dec. 19-23: Third Test (Hamilton)
Dec. 26: First ODI (Auckland)
Dec. 29: Second ODI (Napier)
New Zealand will be relishing the opportunity to get some much-needed Test wins under their belt this year when they host notoriously bad travellers West Indies across three games in December.
The Kiwis have already drawn two series 0-0 so far this year, at home to England and then in Bangladesh, and Brendon McCullum and company will be eyeing this trio of contests as an ideal chance to make some ground up on both Sri Lanka and their opponents in the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings.
Meanwhile, the tourists will no doubt just be glad to have escaped the subcontinent after the miserable experience that Darren Sammy’s side endured recently against India. The skipper should expect his men to put up a far stronger challenge than they did in going down limply 2-0 to MS Dhoni’s impressive team in November.
The five-match one-day international series that follows the Tests should be an evenly contested encounter between two finely balanced nations when it comes to the shorter form of the game.
Dec. 5: First ODI (Johannesburg)
Dec. 8: Second ODI (Durban)
Dec. 11: Third ODI (Centurion)
Dec. 18-22: First Test (Johannesburg)
Dec. 26-30: Second Test (Durban)
The marquee series of not just the month, but perhaps the whole year sees the two top-ranked countries in the world go head-to-head across just two Test matches.
These behemoths of the game last collided in South Africa three years ago, in what turned out to be an absolutely engrossing three-Test contest, which ended up all square.
Expect much the same this time around, too.
In what will be the first series that India have played since Sachin Tendulkar retired, it will be fascinating to see how the tourists’ formidable batting lineup copes without the Little Master when faced with undoubtedly the strongest pace attack in world cricket.
Meanwhile, preceding the Test series are three ODIs as the world champions look to protect their No. 1 ranking against hosts who rarely lose on home soil in the 50-over game.
Dec. 11: First T20 (Dubai)
Dec. 13: Second T20 (Dubai)
Dec. 18: First ODI (Sharjah)
Dec. 20: Second ODI (Dubai)
Dec. 22: Third ODI (Sharjah)
Dec. 25: Fourth ODI (Abu Dhabi)
Dec. 27: Fifth ODI (Abu Dhabi)
Dec. 31-Jan 4: First Test (Dubai)
This threatens to be an intriguing three-Test series—especially after the way in which Pakistan performed recently in holding the world’s No. 1 team, South Africa, to a share of the spoils in the UAE.
Angelo Mathews’ side have not been in action in the longer form of the game since winning 1-0 in Bangladesh way back in March. Therefore, this could represent quite a test for the Lankans.
With that being said, it is a challenge they will feel confident of passing, considering it will be in familiar conditions.
However, prior to the Test series comes the serious stuff—as far as subcontinent nations are concerned, at least—with a two-match Twenty20 series and five-match ODI series that should both prove illuminating and yet equally hard to predict.