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by John Pennington Tuesday 3 June 2014
New Zealand will play a Boxing Day Test - against Sri Lanka in Christchurch - for the first time in more than 10 years, after New Zealand Cricket (NZC) confirmed their summer fixtures.
The Test will see Hagley Oval host a Test for the first time and international cricket return to Christchurch for the first time since the 2011 earthquake.
The Oval will also host the first One-Day International against Sri Lanka as well as the opening match of the 2015 World Cup.
NZC have switched their usual format of playing limited overs matches over the holiday period to give their side a run of ODIs leading into the World Cup, which they co-host with Australia.
Meanwhile, Tauranga's Bay Oval will make its debut as an international venue with South Africa playing two ODIs there in October.
"Bringing international cricket back to Christchurch was always a priority for NZC," said NZC Head of Cricket Lindsay Crocker.
"We feel the Boxing Day Test was a good way to celebrate what will be a very special landmark."While our inclination is to play short-form cricket in the holiday period, on this occasion our preference is to play the Tests early so that we can maximise ODI opportunities ahead of the CWC.
"The original agreement with Sri Lanka provided for a five-match ODI series and two T20s - but by mutual agreement, again with the CWC in mind, we chose to play seven ODIs."Three very competitive opponents, the chance to play at all our World Cup venues, and to take the team around the country – we think this offers a good lead-in to the CWC, while still maintaining our commitment to Test cricket."
New Zealand v South Africa
21st October: 1st ODI, Bay Oval, Tauranga24th October: 2nd ODI, Bay Oval, Tauranga27th October: 3rd ODI, Seddon Park, Hamilton
New Zealand v Sri Lanka
26th-30th December: 1st Test, Hagley Oval, Christchurch3rd-7th January 2015: 2nd Test, Basin Reserve, Wellington
11th January: 1st ODI, Hagley Oval, Christchurch15th January: 2nd ODI, Seddon Park, Hamilton17th January: 3rd ODI, Eden Park, Auckland20th January: 4th ODI, Saxton Oval, Nelson23rd January: 5th ODI, University Oval, Dunedin25th January: 6th ODI, University Oval, Dunedin29th January: 7th ODI, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
New Zealand v Pakistan
31st January: 1st ODI, Westpac Stadium, Wellington3rd February: 2nd ODI, McLean Park, Napier
© Cricket World 2014