Vodafone Men's Ashes
Hobart to host historic day-night Ashes finale
Blundstone Arena in Hobart has been confirmed as the new venue for the fifth Test between Australia and England - the first men's Ashes encounter at the venue
11 December 2021, 10:00 AM AEST
Ashes Test cricket will come to Hobart for the very first time after Cricket Australia today announced that Blundstone Arena will host the fifth Vodafone Test from January 14.
The Test match, which will be the first played in Tasmania in more than five years – since Australia were thrashed by an innings by South Africa in November 2016 – will also be a day-night, pink-ball fixture.
Hobart had been set to host the Australia-Afghanistan Test last month before that was cancelled, and Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said that was another consideration that fell in the city's favour.
"We considered a range of factors, including commercial, logistical and operational considerations," Hockley said.
"On the balance of these the CA board agreed on Blundstone Arena being the most appropriate venue to host the fifth Vodafone Men's Ashes Test match.
"We also acknowledge the postponement of the Australia and Afghanistan Test due to be played in Hobart earlier in the year played a part in the decision."
CA gave up hope of a Perth finale at the start of this week, hitting a brick wall in talks with Western Australia officials as it tried to negotiate border exemptions.
Cricket Tasmania and the Tasmania's government have put together a bid that has seemingly trumped the case for staging two Tests at the MCG or SCG, with the latter reportedly tipping in extra funding to try to reduce any revenue gap.
Tasmania premier Peter Gutwein has indicated the coronavirus-safe capacity for each day of the mooted Ashes Test in his home state will be 14,000.
“This is a great day not just for Tasmanian cricket, but for Tasmania in general,” Cricket Tasmania CEO Dominic Baker said in a statement.
“This will be without a doubt the biggest sporting event Tasmania has ever hosted.”
“While the circumstances that have led us to be able to have the opportunity to host this Test are undoubtedly unique, we are thrilled that Tasmanians will have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness an Ashes Test in their own backyard."
The news of another day-night Test could also impact pace-bowling selections on both sides. England swing king James Anderson is currently being prepared for the second Test in Adelaide off the back of his outstanding performance there with the pink ball four years ago, and will now almost certainly be a lock for the Hobart Test.
For the Australians, with Jhye Richardson seemingly the next man in and Michael Neser yesterday reminding selectors of his quality with 5-29 against England Lions, a second day-night Test might also cause a rethink in potential rotations, particularly given the excellent records of Mitchell Starc (46 wickets at an average of 18.9), Pat Cummins (26 @ 16.2) and Josh Hazlewood (32 @ 19.9) have with the pink ball.
Speaking in Brisbane ahead of the first Test, head coach Justin Langer said the possible employment of a fast-bowling rotation policy would be determined throughout the series.
"Time will tell," Langer said. "Last year there was a lot of discussion at the end of the Indian series, and perhaps some criticism, that we'd used the same bowlers.
"But you can turn that on its head, and say it's a real credit to the bowlers who are so fit and strong, and the support staff … who can get guys through four Tests and not break down. So time will tell. We'll work through it."
- with AAP
Vodafone Men's Ashes
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Blundstone Arena