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Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Australian Wires: Lockdown cut short, Adelaide gets Test boost

Adelaide Oval likely to remain venue for the first Test match.

By: Express News Service | Updated: November 21, 2020 4:33:09 pm
India vs Australia, INDvAUS, Adelaide Oval, Biosecure Bubble, India on Australia tourThey can train throughout their quarantine period at the new Oval Hotel based at Adelaide Oval. (Reuters/File)

With South Australia’s lockdown set to be lifted on Saturday, the first Test between India and Australia at Adelaide Oval is expected to be played as per schedule, from December 17, reported Cricket Australia’s (CA) website.

“Next month’s day-night Test had looked in some jeopardy following South Australia’s COVID cluster, with the state’s chief public health officer admitting this week there was no guarantee they could host,” CA’s website mentioned.

It added: “That prompted some belief that either Sydney or Melbourne could step up if required, in what would likely still be a pink-ball fixture.

“But Friday’s news of the easing of restrictions from midnight Saturday will go a long way to allaying those concerns over the December 17 fixture.”

South Australia had zero new Covid cases on Thursday, and although the state recorded three new cases on Friday, as per the data provided by the Government of South Australia, the state government has decided to lift the lockdown early. Schools will reopen on Monday.

Mission ‘target Kohli’

This is an age-old tactic by the Aussies – ahead of a marquee series, target the biggest threat in the opposition ranks. Virat Kohli will return home after playing the first Test, but as long as he is there, Australia will try to get under his skin. The first Test could set the tone for the entire series, as it did to some extent during India’s triumphant tour two years ago. And already Australian players and media alike are going to town on how to dismiss the India captain.

Fast bowler Pat Cummins has called Kohli the ‘big’ wicket. “I think every side has that one or two batters and they are the big wickets. Most teams have their captain – Joe Root for England, Kane Williamson for New Zealand. You feel like if you get their wickets that goes a long way in winning the game,” Cummins told Fox Cricket.

“He (Kohli) is always a big one. You commentators talk about him non-stop, so hopefully, we can keep him quiet,” he added. In a column on Courier Mail, the Australian pace spearhead has also given the lowdown on ‘How I’ll Dethrone King Kohli’.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), meanwhile, has suggested that ‘attacking the stumps’ might do the trick. “The Kiwis transformed Kohli the champ into a chump by taking what Michael Holding likes to refer to as a ‘you miss, I hit’ approach. Kohli, 32, missed with enough regularity it prompted the great Kapil Dev to question the captain’s eye and his reflexes,” said a report on SMH.

The day-night Test at Adelaide will have conditions pretty similar to what India got in New Zealand during their 2-0 series loss earlier this year. As the SMH piece said: “This approach (attack the stumps) appears best suited for the day/night Test in Adelaide due to the need for more grass coverage to preserve the pink ball.”

Matches sold out

Five of the six limited-overs matches between India and Australia were sold out after tickets went on sale Friday morning. Only a few seats are available for the first ODI, the series opener, in Sydney on November 27.

“The second and third Dettol ODIs at the SCG and Manuka Oval respectively have been exhausted, while the Manuka Oval T20 INTL and two SCG T20s are sold out,” stated a Cricket Australia press release.

It added: “Limited tickets to the first Dettol ODI on November 27 at the SCG remain, with approximately 1,900 public seats left.”

Both SCG and Manuka Oval at Canberra will be at 50 per cent capacity for the series. India will play three ODIs followed by three T20Is before the four-match Test series.

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