Cricket Australia confirmed on Wednesday that India will play a four-Test series on their upcoming tour Down Under, comprising the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, which had been on tenterhooks due to coronavirus pandemic, reported AFP.
The announcement came hours after Australia’s second-largest city exited a months-long lockdown which enabled Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to take place the December 26 fixture. CA said crowd numbers at the 100,000-capacity MCG would be capped at 25,000 for one of the marquee events of the Australian sporting calendar.
“Australia and India represents one of the great rivalries in world sport and we are delighted to welcome Virat Kohli’s outstanding squad to Australian shores this summer,” CA chief Nick Hockley said. Arguing over quarantine requirements and the Melbourne virus outbreak had deferred confirmation of elaborative plans for the tour, which will generate much-needed revenue for CA.
The pandemic has already scuttled plans to host the West Indies, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, New Zealand and the T20 World Cup this year. A similar fate for the India tour would have been a financial disaster for CA and Hockley stated the organization spent months working with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to ensure it went ahead.
“I cannot speak more highly of the professional, thorough and collaborative manner with which they have approached this tour in these extraordinary and complex times,” he said. The series will start with India’s first day-night Test in Australia at the Adelaide Oval on December 17, followed by Melbourne before heading to Sydney on January 7 with the tour finale at Brisbane’s Gabba on January 15.
Neither side has lost a day-night Test previously, with the Australian men’s team winning all four pink-ball Tests in Adelaide against New Zealand, South Africa, England and Pakistan. Last year, India defeated Bangladesh in their only day-night encounter at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
Pandemic permitting, the India squad will arrive on November 12 and follow quarantine and COVID-19 protocols before the first of three one-day internationals on November 27. After three 50-over games and three Twenty20s in Sydney and Canberra, the tour will move to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane for the tests.
Here is a look of India’s tour to Australia:
One-day international series:
November 27 – 1st ODI (Sydney, day-night)November 29 – 2nd ODI (Sydney, day-night)December 2 – 3rd ODI (Canberra, day-night)
Twenty 20 international series:
December 4 – 1st T20 (Canberra, night)December 6 – 2nd T20 (Sydney, night)December 8 – 3rd T20 (Sydney, night)
Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series
December 17-21 – 1st Test (Adelaide Oval, day-night)December 26-30 – 2nd Test (Melbourne)January 7-11 – 3rd Test (Sydney)
January 15-19 – 4th Test (Brisbane)
Matches and travel remain subject to any relevant government restrictions or requirements.