Vodafone Test Series v India
SCG crowd capacity reduced for third Test
Officials confirm reduced capacity of 25 per cent at the SCG for the third Vodafone Test as Sydney manages COVID-19 cases
4 January 2021, 02:04 PM AEST
Crowd capacity at the Sydney Cricket Ground for the third Vodafone Test will initially be limited to 25 per cent of the ground's 38,000 cricket capacity - approximately 9,500 people - on the advice of the New South Wales Government.
The change to attendance numbers, which is being worked through by Cricket Australia and Venues NSW (overseer of the state's publicly-owned sports and entertainment venues), requires a revised socially-distanced seating plan for the Test, which begins on Thursday.
As a result, those who have pre-purchased a ticket for the Australia-India match will receive a full refund (including all associated costs) and the match will be re-ticketed from this afternoon.
Existing ticket-holders will receive priority opportunity to purchase new tickets from 5pm today until noon tomorrow at which point all remaining public tickets will go on sale.
There will also be a re-balloting of tickets for SCG members, with the initial 25 per cent cap being applied to all sections of the ground.
Cricket Australia's acting Chief Executive Officer Nick Hockley, who addressed a media conference with Venues NSW CEO Kerrie Mather this afternoon, said the reduction in crowd numbers was essential to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved in, or attending, the Test.
"In response to the public health situation in NSW, we are working closely with Venues NSW and NSW Health to put appropriate biosecurity measures in place for our staff, players, match officials, broadcasters and fans to ensure we play the third Test at the SCG safely," Hockley said in a statement.
"Reducing the capacity of the venue is crucial in achieving social distancing requirements, and we sincerely thank ticketholders for their patience, as we process refunds today, reconfigure the SCG seating plan to deliver these social distancing measures and go back on sale.
"Tickets will be back on sale exclusively to those who have already bought a seat at 5pm (AEDT) on January 4, with remaining tickets released at midday (AEDT) on January 5.
"To date, we have been able to deliver a safe and successful summer of cricket thanks to our detailed biosecurity protocols, the cooperation and support of public health officials and the hard work of so many people behind the scenes."
Cricket Australia has also instructed fans to follow the latest guidance from NSW Health if they are planning to attend.
Mather confirmed at today’s media conference that people in areas identified as ‘high-risk’ by NSW Health are unable to attend the Test, and noted that if health advice allowed for the crowd capacity to be increased the SCG would be able to readily accommodate that change.
"Our plan is very scale-able so if there was an opportunity, in what is a very fluid environment and an improving situation, to host more we could certainly host more,” she said today.
"Patrons who reside in certain at-risk areas, as identified by NSW Health are not able to attend, and we would encourage people to refer to the NSW Health website for a full list of places associated with their being confirmed cased in the past 14 days.
Earlier today, NSW’s acting premier John Barilaro advised those from rural parts of the state to reconsider their “annual pilgrimage” to this year’s SCG Test.
"In regional rural NSW right now we’re enjoying no restrictions," Mr Barilaro said.
"We got to have the summer and the Christmas we were robbed of last year - because of bushfires and drought - because of the restrictions we’ve put in place in Sydney.
"So the risk would be that if someone from the regions comes to Sydney they could take it (COVID-19) back to a regional area.
"My advice to people would be to think about it and reconsider. Maybe this year isn’t the year to come to Sydney to watch the Test."
The SCG hosted two ODIs and the first of two T20 Internationals between Australia and India men's team earlier in the summer, at which crowds of around 18,000 were permitted.
Those restrictions were then relaxed on NSW Government advice for the final T20I match in early December that drew a crowd of 30,436.
"There are extensive protocols being enacted for the upcoming Test, including increased cleaning, customer service and security staff, along with dedicated social distancing marshals," Chair of Venues NSW Tony Shepherd said today.
"The SCG is registered as a COVID Safe business with the NSW Government, which allows exhaustive record keeping and QR code check-in protocols that will ensure the safety of our fans.
"We have a very safe stadium and will be doing everything we can to deliver this event safely, as we have at our venues in NSW for the entire year."
Vodafone Test Series v India 2020-21
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, 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: India won by eight wickets
Third Test: January 7-11, SCG, 10.30am AEDT
Fourth Test: January 15-19, Gabba, 11am AEDT