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The third Test between Australia and India will be staged at the SCG after the Cricket Australia board ratified the decision with the Indian Cricket Board on Tuesday.
In a move that insiders described as a calculated gamble, the match will go ahead as planned, beginning on January 7.
December’s Covid-19 outbreak in pockets of Sydney led to lengthy discussions between NSW authorities, the Queensland government and Cricket Australia across the past two weeks.
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The decision will likely have an impact on the availability of Australian players in the Big Bash League beyond the fourth Test.
Before making this call, Cricket Australia needed to ensure players, coaches and support staff would be able to travel from NSW to Queensland without needing to undergo a hard quarantine before the fourth Test.
However it now appears players will be forced into quarantine and only allowed out to train.
Nick Hockley, the interim CEO at headquarters, remained committed to an SCG Test even as key stakeholders expressed a desire to play the third match of the series in Melbourne.
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As late as day three of the Test, sources were expecting CA to relent and schedule the game for the MCG.
But Hockley remained steadfast, believing he could deliver the NSW government, the state’s cricket fans and the SCG the match as scheduled. Locked in talks not just with health authorities, but with the Indians, the Test finished hours before a decision had been officially made.
Now the rest of the series in a more precarious position than the alternative arrangement, though Cricket Australia insiders believe the plans will work and the next two matches will go off without a hitch.
There is also a large question around how many people will be allowed inside the SCG to watch the game. Cricket NSW was hoping for a half-full stadium, but this will be determined by health officials in early January.
The fourth Test will remain at the Gabba, beginning on January 15.
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