INTERNATIONAL cricket will return to the North-East next summer, with Emirates Riverside due to host the first One-Day International between England and Sri Lanka.

The game, which kicks off the Royal London Series, will take place at the Chester-le-Street venue on Tuesday, June 29, and is scheduled to be England’s first one-day match in front of spectators after a year of playing fixtures behind-closed-doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The last seven international matches at Emirates Riverside have all sold out, so despite the ongoing uncertainty about when the Government will relax its rules on mass gatherings, Durham officials are urging fans to purchase their tickets as early as possible.

Tickets will go on general sale on January 12, but Durham members and supporters will have an opportunity to purchase priority tickets before Christmas, and a full ticket refund scheme is in place that guarantees a full refund should the game be cancelled or moved to an alternative date because of Covid-19.

Durham chief executive, Tim Bostock, said: “We are delighted to once again bring world-class international sport to the North-East. It is a real coup for us to be the first domestic venue to host our World Cup winning team in front of a crowd.

“We expect the game to be a sell-out and we are pleased to be able to give our members priority access to tickets after such a difficult summer in which they once again showed their unwavering support and generosity to help the club through a challenging period.

“Despite these uncertain times we would encourage people to purchase early. This year’s Australia fixture sold out before it reached general sale so fans not in priority groups should sign up for the ballot to avoid disappointment.

“We are guaranteeing refunds and we will ensure the venue meets all safety standards to ensure a safe environment for everyone to enjoy what promises to be an exciting game.”

Durham 2021 members and those who had tickets for last season’s cancelled Australia fixture will be able to purchase tickets from 10am next Tuesday (November 24). Members will also receive a £5 discount on their international ticket.

Fans not in a priority group can sign up for a ballot which will give access to successful entrants ahead of a general sale. The ballot will close on Friday, December 11, with successful ballot applicants given access to purchase from Monday, December 14.