The Riverside moved another rung up the international ladder last night as furious English cricket chiefs demanded an explanation for the Headingley fiasco.

The England and Wales Cricket Board want Yorkshire to reveal why their ground was nearly half-empty for Tuesday's NatWest Series game between England and Sri Lanka.

The match was played out in front of massed rows of empty seats after just 9,000 tickets were sold for the game at the 16,500-capacity venue.

Yorkshire's feeble efforts will be put to shame today when an expected full house of 17,000 cram into Chester-le-Street to watch England meet India.

A big crowd for the day/night encounter, for which around 15,000 tickets had already been sold by yesterday evening, will improve Durham's chances of hosting more high-profile internationals in future.

Northern Echo Sport revealed on Tuesday that the Riverside is poised to help host a one-day series involving Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand next month.

Test cricket will come to the ground next year, but Yorkshire cricket fans' amazing snub to their country will do Chester-le-Street's chances no harm.

Yorkshire chief executive Chris Hassell's remarkable outburst, aimed at critics of his county, can only damage their cause in the long term.

He blasted: "Down south, like at The Oval, those chaps in the metropolis are far quicker to part with their money. Northeners are normally much less willing to commit."

That comment is ridiculed by ticket sales figures at the other nine one-day internationals in England this summer.

There are just 700 tickets available for Sunday's game between England and Sri Lanka at Old Trafford, which has a capacity of 18,500.

And five matches - two at Lord's and The Oval, plus the opening game at Trent Bridge last Thursday - were sold out.