Cricket Australia contemplates swapping third and 4th Checks after COVID surge in Sydney

Adelaide, December 20

Cricket Australia could contemplate swapping the last two Tests of the ongoing four-match series against India following a rise in COVID-19 cases in Sydney where the third match is scheduled to be held from January 7.

Australian cricket officials were put on high alert last week after an outbreak of the virus in the northern beaches in Sydney.

“According to CA, the leading option was still to play the match from January 7 to 11 in Sydney but if not, swapping the third and fourth Tests between Sydney and Brisbane was the top alternative. That would leave the SCG Test being the fourth of the series, played from January 15-19,” a report in ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ said.

With cases growing, star Australia opener David Warner and pacer Sean Abbott — both recovering from injuries — were on Saturday flown from Sydney to Melbourne, which will host the Boxing day Test from December 26.

The governing body’s coronavirus working group was also due to meet on Sunday to take stock of the impact of Sydney’s northern beaches virus cluster on the third Test.

With the number of cases shooting to 71, Victoria and South Australia have already announced tighter border controls while the New South Wales state government have also imposed fresh restrictions.

Under the current circumstances, there are concerns that Queensland state may close its border with New South Wales, which will mean players and broadcasting crews will not be able to travel from Sydney to Brisbane between the third and fourth Tests.

According to the report, an alternate plan would be to host both the second and third Tests in Melbourne.

“Hosting the next two Tests in Melbourne, where the series will resume on Boxing Day after Australia took a 1-0 lead in Adelaide, is another option and the appeal of that for administrators and broadcasters it would require less movement,” the report said.

India on Sunday lost the first Test by eight wickets to fall 0-1 behind in the four-match series. PTI

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