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Thursday, December 12, 2019

Let’s play at the Gabba next year: Tim Paine to Virat Kohli

His Australians had just extended an unbeaten streak at the Gabba that stretches back to 1988, and Tim Paine wanted to bring it to the attention of India skipper Virat Kohli.

By: AP | Brisbane | Published: November 24, 2019 3:45:18 pm
Virat Kohli and Tim Paine engage in verbal joust during India’s last tour to Australia. (AP/File Photo) 

His Australians had just extended an unbeaten streak at the Gabba that stretches back to 1988, and Tim Paine wanted to bring it to the attention of India skipper Virat Kohli.

The Brisbane venue has long been the place where Australia starts its home Test series, but it was abandoned for the four-match series against India last year. There was all kinds of conjecture about the reasoning, including speculation in the local media that India refused to play a Test at the Gabba, where it has lost five and drawn one of its six Tests going back to 1947.

Whatever the case, the schedule change had a big influence on the summer. India won the first Test of that series _ in Adelaide _ to claim its first Test win in Australia since 2008. And India went on to win a Test series in Australia for the first time.

Australia launched its 2019-2020 Test series with win over Pakistan by an innings and five runs at the Gabba on Sunday, an emphatic start to the summer. Paine was still in his whites when he was asked in a news conference if he’d like next year’s series with India to start at the Gabba as well.

“Yeah, well, we’ll be certainly trying. We’ll have to run that by Virat,” Paine said. “We’ll get an answer from him at some stage I’m sure.”

Kohli just happened to be playing later Sunday as India won its first-ever day-night Test. He scored 136 in the first innings of the victory over Bangladesh at Kolkata. So Paine doubled down.

This “is where we like to start our summer, and it has been for a long, long time except for last summer,” Paine said. “So as I said, we’ll ask Virat. See if we can get his permission to play here. And maybe even get a pink-ball Test if he’s in a good mood.”

The Australians enjoy the extra bounce of the Gabba pitch, which is fairly unique in the international game. The pace bowlers enjoy the extra carry it gives the ball, and the spinners get a higher bounce. Australian batsmen are usually better prepared for the consistently higher bounce than touring batsmen, particularly those from the subcontinent.

Australia only lost eight of the 62 Tests at The Gabba since 1931. “We like playing here. Australian teams have bowled and batted well here for a long time,” Paine said. “We’d like to start here against anyone. Having said that, it doesn’t win us games of cricket. We win here because we outplay the opposition. That doesn’t’ change depending on the venue. We enjoy playing here, which allows (us) to settle into games here a little quicker.”

First things first. Australia has another Test against Pakistan starting Friday in Adelaide, before a three-Test series against New Zealand which includes matches in Perth, Melbourne, and Sydney.

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