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MCC and Durham set for Abu Dhabi curtain raiser

Action from the 2013 Champion County clash
Action from the 2013 Champion County clash

MCC's curtain raising Champion County clash with Durham will take place in Abu Dhabi, starting on 23 March 2014.

The four-day, first-class match, which officially kicks-off the 2014 season, returns to the Sheikh Zayed Stadium for the fifth successive year.

It will once again form part of MCC's commitment to developing pink-ball, day-night cricket with the goal of a Test match being played under similar conditions.

Since MCC first trialled the format in 2010 - following a recommendation of the World Cricket committee - simiar experiments have taken place around the world, in countries including Pakistan, South Africa and in the Caribbean.

The ICC has paved the way for a day/night Test after amending its playing conditions in 2012 to state that "if the competing countries in a bi-lateral series agree that they wish to trial day/night Test cricket then this request should be accommodated."

However, despite Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland describing the first day/night Test as "inevitable", the first such fixture is yet to have been played - and more necessary trials continue to take place around the world.

MCC's will play Durham in Abu Dhabi for the the second time, in a repeat of the first Champion County match played abroad in 2010.

Durham were convincing winners that year by 311 runs in a match where England all-rounder Ben Stokes made his first-class debut.

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