Sydney: Cricket Australia will consider swapping the third and fourth Tests of Australia’s Test series against India due to a COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney where the third Test is due to be played.
Australian media reported on Sunday CA officials have a contingency plan to switch the Sydney test and the fourth test in Brisbane if the outbreak worsens. Officials currently are confident the Sydney test can go ahead as planned from 7 January.
If the Tests are swapped, the Sydney Test will be played from 15 to 19 January.
A total of 30 new COVID infections were reported in Sydney on Sunday all associated with an outbreak in the city’s northern beach suburbs. The new cases caused the New South Wales state government to impose fresh restrictions on public and private gatherings.
CA’s coronavirus working group was due to meet Sunday to discuss the Sydney outbreak and its impact on the Test series.
The plan to swap the third and fourth Tests is being considered in case Queensland state closes its border with New South Wales. That would mean players and television crews could not travel from Sydney to Brisbane between the third and fourth Tests.
Victoria state on Sunday declared Sydney a hot spot and said it would close its borders from midnight to travellers from Australia’s largest city.
Australian Test opener David Warner beat the closure, flying by private plane on Saturday from Sydney to Melbourne to isolate before joining the Australian team bubble ahead of the Boxing Day Test. Warner is recovering from a groin injury sustained late last month during the one-day international series against India.
An alternative plan, to play consecutive tests in Melbourne which will host the second test from 26 December, exists but is thought unlikely because CA does not want to cancel the Sydney Test.
Australia lead the series 1-0 after winning the first test in Adelaide by eight wickets.
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India, after conceding a 33-run first innings lead, bundled out Australia for 294, with pacers Mohammed Siraj (5/73) and Shardul Thakur (4/61) doing the bulk of the damage.
Steve Smith reached three figures in a Test for the first time since 2019, smacking 131 for his 27th ton to help steer Australia to a first innings 338 in Sydney Test.
With 13 scalps, Siraj was India's highest wicket-taker in the memorable 2-1 series win on Tuesday and people in the locality where the cricketer lives erupted in joy.