The weather was glorious. Thousands of fans packed into the ground. England won the toss, chose to bat first - and they were off.
The Ashes are coming to town for the first time in their history. But what are they and why do they matter?
The arrival of the England and Australia cricket teams in Chester-le-Street comes amid accusations players have tried to cheat.
A group of cricketers have set off on a gruelling tour of some of England's famous cricket grounds.
They left Chester-le-Street early this morning on their 441-mile trip.
The group first travelled to Headingly in Leeds, before heading to Old Trafford in Manchester, Trent Bridge in Nottingham, Derby's County Ground, Leicester's Grace Road, Wantage Road in Northampton.
They will finish at Lords, in London on Wednesday.
Durham cricketer Phil Mustard said he is happy to put himself through a few paces for two good causes.
He's one of around 50 cyclists taking part in the 'Big Bike Ride', a 441-mile charity project aimed at raising money for the Tom Maynard Trust and the Professional Cricketers' Association Benevolent Fund.
Former England batsman Marcus Trescothick was among around 50 people that set off from Durham's Emirates International Cricket Ground at just after 8am on a gruelling trip around some of the country's major cricket grounds.
He said it was good to start in Durham, at a ground he always enjoyed playing at and added: "I've heard it's all downhill from here!"
Famous cricketers past and present have set off on a gruelling trip to some of the country's major cricket grounds.
Cricket stars including Durham's Phil Mustard and former England batsman Marcus Trescothick were among around 50 people that set off from Durham's Emirates International Cricket Ground at just after 8am on Friday morning.
The 'Big Bike Ride' is a 441-mile charity project aimed at raising money for the Tom Maynard Trust and the Professional Cricketers' Association Benevolent Fund.
The group will arrive at Headingly in Leeds later today, before heading to Old Trafford in Manchester, Trent Bridge in Nottingham, Derby's County Ground, Leicester's Grace Road, Wantage Road in Northampton and will finish at Lords, in London on Wednesday.
Durham cricketer Steve Harmison has announced his retirement. He said he had known for a while that the 2013 summer season would be his last, but did not want to take the shine away from his county's championship victory.
Harmison, who took 226 Test wickets for England, did not make a single first-class appearance for Durham this season. He told the Sunday Sun newspaper he had been hoping to go out on a high during his benefit year, but his body had not allowed it.
Durham's cricket captain Paul Collingwood, who won the Ashes and the World Twenty20 with England, has agreed to coach Scotland.
The 37-year old, who has just led Durham to a third County Championship title in 6 years, will join the Scots for their World Cup qualifying campaign this winter.
He admits he is doing it with one eye on the future.
Durham's Championship-winning cricketers received another award today, September 30. They were given the Chairman's Medal by Durham County Council.
The medal recognises exceptional achievements in County Durham. The cricket club is the first organisation to be given the honour twice, after winning the County Championship for the third time in six years.
Julia Barthram reports.
Durham County Cricket Club became the first organisation ever to receive a top county accolade twice.
The club was awarded a Chairman's Medal, an award also bestowed on the club in 2008.