Gabba en­tree on menu

In­dia likely to have to face the Test they shirked last time

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - BEN HORNE

PLAYER power is likely to de­liver Bris­bane the first Test against In­dia next sum­mer in a big win over sub­con­ti­nen­tal pol­i­tics.

Vi­rat Kohli’s men not only re­fused to play a day-night Test 12 months ago, but they flexed their mus­cle to avoid start­ing their tour at Aus­tralia’s strong­hold the Gabba.

How­ever, when In­dia re­turn for four Test matches this time next year as part of the new Test Cham­pi­onship, it ap­pears as though Aus­tralia may get the sched­ule they de­sire by tick­ing the two key boxes of a se­ries-opener in Bris­bane and a pink ball Test in Ade­laide.

Up­graded fa­cil­i­ties around the coun­try has made com­pe­ti­tion fierce for mar­quee Test matches, and on that front Bris­bane has been left be­hind, but Aus­tralian play­ers have made their fond­ness for the Gabba known to CA of­fi­cials.

Aus­tralia has not lost at the Gabba in more than 30 years, partly be­cause tour­ing teams find it a daunt­ing place to start.

Con­scious of this, In­dia ne­go­ti­ated cushier conditions to start on in Ade­laide last sum­mer, and took full ad­van­tage to reg­is­ter a 1-0 se­ries lead.

The only other time in re­cent mem­ory when Aus­tralia shifted a first Test away from Bris­bane, they were am­bushed in Perth by South Africa.

Cricket Aus­tralia are yet to fi­nalise next year’s sched­ule, but the feeling at this stage is the Gabba is favoured to be re­in­stated as the first Test against In­dia, al­though that would be pre­ceded by Perth host­ing a one-off Test against Afghanista­n at the WACA.

That would be a ma­jor rel­e­ga­tion for Perth given the brand spank­ing new Op­tus Sta­dium, and po­ten­tially broad­cast­ers who like the late start on the west coast.

Aus­tralia is being forced to aban­don home soil in midJan­uary this sum­mer to play three one-day­ers in In­dia, but the CA board is con­fi­dent re­la­tions with In­dia are good.

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