Melbourne to host third Test if Sydney COVID outbreak forces move

Melbourne has been revealed as Cricket Australia’s preferred venue if Sydney is unable to host the third Test against India.

The Northern Beaches COVID outbreak has cast doubt on the SCG’s ability to host the match, with the closure of interstate borders making travel difficult.

Players, as well as CA staff and media would be expected to travel to Brisbane immediately after the Sydney Test for the final match of the series at the Gabba.

But under current border restrictions, such a move would be impossible.

In a statement, CA noted that it had strong biosecurity protocols in place, and would work with the Queensland government to secure exemptions if border restrictions are not lifted before the fourth Test, due to start on January 15.

While reaffirming its commitment to playing the third Test in Sydney if possible, CA has confirmed that its preferred contingency is to play the match at the MCG.

“We have always maintained that scheduling a full summer of cricket during a global pandemic would require agility, problem-solving and teamwork like never before,” CA boss Nick Hockley said.

“We continue to place the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved as our number one priority.  

“The record testing numbers and the drop in new community transmissions in NSW have provided cause for optimism, however if the situation in Sydney deteriorates, we have strong contingency plans in place.  

“We are working constructively with the Queensland Government and have been encouraged by the positive nature of discussions with them.

Hockley confirmed that a final decision on the venue for the third Test would be made during the Boxing Day Test.

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