IND vs AUS, 3rd Test: Cricket Australia declares Melbourne as backup venue after Sydney coronavirus outbreak

Last Updated: Thursday, 24 December 2020 (18:48 IST)
Melbourne: on Thursday said that has been picked as the back-up venue to host the third Test of the ongoing if Sydney’s situation renders it untenable to continue with the original schedule.

Both Australia and India are currently in Melbourne for the second Test of the four-match series, that starts on Boxing Day on December 26.
The third and fourth Tests are originally slated for and Brisbane respectively. However, a fresh outbreak of the COVID-19 virus on Sydney’s northern beaches in the past week, and the subsequent border restrictions imposed by the local health authorities, has forced a rethink of plans.
has reaffirmed its commitment to giving it the best chance to play the third Vodafone Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground and the fourth Vodafone Test at the Gabba as per the original schedule,” CA said in a statement.
“Should the public health situation in NSW render playing in Sydney untenable, CA’s preferred contingency plan is to work with the Victorian Government to play the third Vodafone Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground followed by the fourth Vodafone Test at the Gabba,” it added.
A final decision on the third Test venue would be made during the Boxing Day Test.
The situation in northern beaches has improved, however there are concerns that Queensland will not grant the required exemptions, which will mean  players, match officials, broadcasters, media will not be able to travel from Sydney to Brisbane between the third and fourth Tests in case NSW still remains under lockdown at that time.
However, CA interim chief executive officer Nick Hockley said the board is working closely with the Queensland government to get exemptions.
“We are working constructively with the Queensland Government and have been encouraged by the positive nature of discussions with them. We thank the Queensland Government for their support,” Hockley said.
“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,” he added. (UNI)