County land prestigious Australia game

Australia's Mitchell Johnson claims the wicket of England's Graeme Swann during the third test at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 2, 2009. See PA Story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: David Jones/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Australia's Mitchell Johnson claims the wicket of England's Graeme Swann during the third test at Edgbaston, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 2, 2009. See PA Story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: David Jones/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
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Northamptonshire will face Australia in a two-day fixture during their 2013 Ashes tour.

The tourists will visit the County Ground on August 16-17 for a two-day fixture that falls in between the fourth and fifth Tests.

The contest coincides with the finals day of the Friends Life t20 that is scheduled for Saturday, August 17, but an added bonus for the County is that should the Steelbacks reach the last four, they will be replaced by England Lions.

And chief executive David Smith was delighted with the news, saying: “It’s the perfect scenario for us and it sets the entire season up for us knowing that we’ve got the Australians coming.

“It’s fantastic news for us as a cricket club to have them here, it’s great for the town and it’s good news for supporters of the game in the county.

“The game could be at an ideal time and hopefully the series will still be alive when they come here.”

A key part of Smith’s strategy for the club concerns the ability to attract touring teams, whether that is to play or use the ground as a training base, and he believes the success of the recent England Lions versus West Indies encounter will have done them no harm.

He added: “We received really good feedback from that game which was really positive.

“We had the chairman of the ECB here (Giles Clarke) and Andy Flower (England coach) and others and I’d like to think that what we provided went some way towards getting us this fixture.

England’s defence of the Ashes starts at Trent Bridge on July 10 with the other four Tests scheduled for Lord’s, Old Trafford, Chester-le-Street and The Oval.