Vodafone Test Series v India
SCG gets green light to host annual Pink Test
Cricket Australia has confirmed the third Vodafone Test will be played in Sydney as scheduled, with the final match to follow in Brisbane
29 December 2020, 10:11 PM AEST
Sydney will host the third Vodafone Test against India as scheduled, after Cricket Australia officials deemed the threat of a COVID19 outbreak in the city had subsided enough to allow the match to proceed.
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 KFC BBL 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.
"We are confident that both this match, and the fourth Test in Brisbane, will play out in a safe and successful manner and thus round out what has been a magnificent men's international program this summer.
"We are very grateful to the Queensland Government for their willingness to work with us to deliver the series as planned in a manner that places the safety and wellbeing of the players, officials, staff and the wider community as its top priority.
"In response to the public health situation in NSW and the requirements of the Queensland Government, CA will put in place appropriate biosecurity measures and we thank all players, staff and broadcasters for their cooperation to play the matches safely."
Sydney's New Year's Test has become known as the 'Pink Test' in recent times and is a major fundraiser for the McGrath Foundation, a breast cancer support and education charity set up by former Australia fast bowler Glenn McGrath, whose first wife Jane died of the disease.
Last summer, the Pink Test in its 12th year raised more than $1.2 million for the charity, and McGrath welcomed news the tradition would continue.
"We are thrilled the Vodafone Pink Test will still take place at the SCG. It is the home of the Pink Test and the spirit and support of the crowd at the SCG have become a huge part of the Pink Test atmosphere over the past 12 years," McGrath said in a statement.
"In the coming days, we will be announcing our new exciting digital initiative for this year's Pink Test, which will mean people can get involved, no matter whether they are in the stadium or watching from home."
Vodafone Test Series v India 2020-21
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
India Test squad: Virat Kohli (c) (first Test only), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj
First Test: Australia won by eight wickets
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