Vodafone Test Series v India
It's on! Dates, venues for India tour confirmed
Virat Kohli's side to play ODIs and T20s in Sydney and Canberra ahead of four-Test series starting with a day-night blockbuster in Adelaide
28 October 2020, 07:01 PM AEST
The opening match of Australia's highly-anticipated clash with India is less than one month away after details of the men's international summer were finally confirmed by Cricket Australia today.
The full schedule, which begins with limited-overs matches in Sydney and Canberra before the Vodafone Test Series starts in Adelaide with a first-ever day-night Test between the countries, comes after the NSW government last week approved CA's strict biosecurity plans that will allow the 32-player India squad and the Australian players returning from the Indian Premier League to train while serving their 14-day quarantine period.
The group is expected to arrive en masse on a chartered flight from Dubai on November 12 – the IPL final is scheduled for the early hours of November 11, Australian time – and enter hotel quarantine, although the Australian Border Force still needs to approve the travel plans.
The Australian IPL contingent and India's squad, which was named earlier this week, should clear quarantine on November 26 and will play the opening match of the Dettol ODI Series at the Sydney Cricket Ground the following day, November 27.
The SCG will also host the second ODI on November 29 before the series moves to Canberra's Manuka Oval for the third ODI on December 2. All three ODIs will be day-night affairs.
Of Australia's likely ODI side, only Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Starc are not involved in the IPL, and that pair will not be able to link up with their quarantined teammates for a group training session until the day before the opening match. Australia's limited-overs squad is expected to be announced later this week.
India has only played two ODIs at Manuka, losing both, with the most recent against Australia in early 2016 a high-scoring thriller in which Aaron Finch and Virat Kohli scored centuries.
The Canberra venue will then host the opening match of the Dettol T20I Series on December 4 before the two sides return to the SCG for two further T20Is, on December 6 and 8. All three T20Is will be played at night.
An Australia A squad will also play two matches against the Indians, with a three-day red-ball game at Drummoyne Oval on December 6-8, followed by a three-day, day-night match with the pink ball at the SCG from December 11-13.
Both Australia A matches will be live streamed on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app.
It remains to be seen how both sides will handle their players' preparation for the Test series following the IPL with the likes of Australia's Pat Cummins, David Warner, Steve Smith and Josh Hazlewood not having played a red-ball match since January's New Year Test at the SCG.
While the red-ball tour match at Drummoyne Oval will coincide with the final two T20Is between Australia and India at the SCG, all players will be available for the pink-ball day-night warm-up, raising the prospect of a star-studded clash, with the SCG clash officially listed as Australia A v India.
The spotlight will then shift to Adelaide, with a maiden day-night Test between the countries to start the Vodafone Test Series at the Adelaide Oval from December 17.
Neither Australia, the current No.1 ranked Test nation, nor India, the holders of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, have lost a day-night Test. Australia have beaten New Zealand, South Africa, England and Pakistan in day-night clashes in Adelaide, while Kohli scored a century in India's innings win against Bangladesh in their only previous day-night clash.
The Boxing Day Test has been scheduled for the MCG in a further boost for residents of Melbourne, with the city on Monday recording its first day with zero new cases of COVID19 since July and with state premier Daniel Andrews announcing significant easing of the state's lockdown conditions.
"In relation to the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, we are working with the Victorian Government and the Melbourne Cricket Club on plans to safely host spectators at the iconic event with details to be confirmed in due course.," CA's interim CEO Nick Hockley said in a statement.
"The safety of the Australian community and all participants is our highest priority and we will continue to work with governments across Australia to ensure the schedule proceeds in line with relevant directions and biosecurity protocols."
It's understood that, while no firm decisions have been made on crowd capacities yet, there will be fans at all international matches this summer with a staggered release of tickets expected to begin in mid-November.
Sydney's annual New Year's Test will start slightly later than usual, on January 7, to give players additional rest between the second and third matches of the series.
That means the four-match series is scheduled to wind up at the Gabba, a fortress for Australia who have not lost at the venue since 1988, a streak that stretches 31 matches. The fourth Test will be played on January 15-19.
The Gabba had won the right to host the opening match of the series in CA's initial international schedule, which had to be redrawn due to the COVID19 pandemic.
Brisbane had appeared well placed to host the Indians for their quarantine with all six white-ball matches set to be played in South-East Queensland. Following several weeks of planning, CA pivoted to Sydney after Queensland officials went cold on the idea of having the international arrivals land in the state.
CA already had a close relationship with the NSW government having put together a comprehensive and strict biosecurity plan for the ongoing Rebel WBBL season that is being played entirely in the city.
"Across all three formats, 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," Hockley said in a statement.
"We have worked closely with the BCCI for many months to bring this tour to life, and 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.
"I would like to express my gratitude to everyone at the BCCI for the faith and support they have shown in the plan we have developed, which we believe will result in a safe and successful summer for all involved.
"We would also like to especially thank the NSW Government for allowing players from both teams to safely prepare during quarantine, as well as other governments and health authorities who have worked with us to host a series which, I have no doubt, will live long in the memories of all who experience it.
"I would also like to thank everyone across Australian cricket and our valued partners for working tirelessly to navigate through the challenges and deliver a schedule that will bring joy and excitement to hundreds of millions of fans at home and abroad."
CA first published an international schedule back in May at the behest of its broadcast partners, and despite the successful women's internationals against New Zealand earlier this month, has seen scheduled visits by Zimbabwe, the West Indies, Afghanistan and New Zealand – as well as the men's T20 World Cup – all postponed due to the COVID19 pandemic.
The redrawn fixture means there will be no men's international cricket in Perth this summer with Western Australia's border still closed, while Hobart also misses out.
Tasmania is, however, expected to feature prominently when the KFC BBL fixture is announced, which CA will now finalise having locked away the travel arrangements for the men's internationals.
India Tour of Australia 2020-21
Dettol ODI Series v India
First ODI: November 27, SCG, 2.40pm AEDT
Second ODI: November 29, SCG, 2.40pm AEDT
Third ODI: December 2, Manuka Oval, 2.40pm AEDT
Dettol T20 INTL Series v India
First T20: December 4, Manuka Oval, 7.10pm AEDT
Second T20: December 6, SCG, 7.10pm AEDT
Third T20: December 8, SCG, 7.10pm AEDT
Australia A v India A, December 6-8, Drummoyne Oval
Australia A v Indians, December 11-13, SCG (day-night)
Vodafone Test Series v India
First Test: December 17-21, Adelaide Oval, 3pm AEDT (day-night)
Second Test: December 26-30, MCG, 10.30am AEDT
Third Test: January 7-11, SCG, 10.30am AEDT
Fourth Test: January 15-19, Gabba, 11am AEDT
*The matches and travel remain subject to any relevant government restrictions or requirements.