Eden Park seems almost certain to host an England test against New Zealand next summer - but it may not be the hoped-for pink-ball contest.

New Zealand Cricket have been waiting on resource consent from Auckland City Council to use the ground's lights on the Sunday of the second test of the marquee event of the season.

The match has been pencilled in for March 22-26, that is Thursday to Monday. Playing the match outside a weekend is considered not viable.

Resource consent for the Sunday night lights is required under Auckland's unitary plan regulations. Submissions closed on May 25.


NZC initially took a position that if they did not get permission for the lights to be used on the Sunday, the test would be moved to another venue, so keen were they to have an inaugural pink-ball test in New Zealand.

That position has changed, in large part due to the delay from the council.

Schedules for the incoming international tours next summer - from the West Indies, Pakistan, the T20 tri-series involving England and Australia, and England - are expected to be released in the next few days.

Time is pressing and, in England's case, they need advice to plan tour groups coming to New Zealand.

It appears NZC are running out of time and are reluctant to put out an itinerary, which then requires change based on the council's consent decision.

The only times Eden Park has had Sunday night lights for sports events were the rugby World Cup semifinal and final in 2011.

The alternatives to Eden Park, if NZC were locked into a day-night test, are Hamilton's Seddon Park and Westpac Stadium in Wellington - the latter has never hosted a cricket test, with the Basin Reserve the preferred venue for tests in the capital.

Both Seddon Park and Westpac Stadium were used in the pink-ball round in the Plunket Shield last summer.

Efforts from various parties to speed up the snail-like council progress have come to nothing and NZC are simply waiting for advice.

The other issue that could arise is around the tri-series, with Australia's cricketers locked in a bitter dispute with Cricket Australia over pay and the financial model to be used.

England have indicated, if it is not resolved, they won't be touring Australia.

One possible spinoff is that Australia would not take part in the tri-series, which has been subbed in to replace the Chappell Hadlee ODI series against Australia.

That tri-series is scheduled immediately before the start of England's tour proper of New Zealand.

To extrapolate the point, one option would be to hunt about for another team to fill Australia's place in that series, although that may be putting the cart before this particular horse.