Sydney will host the third Test against India as scheduled, after Cricket Australia officials deemed the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak in the city had subsided enough.
An outbreak of coronavirus in Sydney’s northern beaches before Christmas had put CA officials on high alert, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground was placed on standby to potentially host back-to-back Test matches.
The MCG had not hosted two Tests in a summer since December 1981, but the ground – where Australia lost this summer’s Boxing Day Test by eight wickets – will now instead turn its attention to a glut of Big Bash League matches in January.
Complicating the hosting decision was the closure of the Queensland border to anyone coming from the greater Sydney area, putting events, broadcast and media contingents in limbo, as well as the Australia and India players.
Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s Interim CEO, said that health advice from the NSW Government and collaboration with both the NSW and Queensland Governments helped make the decision.
‘Despite the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am delighted to say Cricket Australia remains on track to deliver the men’s international series as scheduled,’ Hockley said.
‘We have met regularly over the past week to assess the unfolding public health situation in Sydney and gauge its impact on border restrictions around the country. To date, we have been able to deliver a safe and successful summer thanks to our detailed biosecurity protocols and the amazing work of so many great people behind the scenes.
‘To that end, we have made the decision to keep the New Year’s Test at the SCG, which has a wonderful recent history of hosting the Pink Test and Jane McGrath Day on the third day of play.’