Ashes tour diary: Perth Test finally canned, green pitch at the Gabba?


tandard Sport’s cricket correspondent Will Macpherson is in Australia with just two days to go until the start of the Ashes. His daily diary keeps you up to date with everything going on Down Under…

At long last, Cricket Australia have confirmed the inevitable: that Perth will not host the Fifth Test of the series because of Western Australia’s hardline border stance that would have seen players put back into two weeks’ quarantine.

CA said they were “disappointed” with the news, and that “absolutely every effort” had been made to get the game on.

Where the game, which is now set to be a day-nighter, takes place is still being decided. CA seem to like the idea of Hobart, which lost its Test against Afghanistan through no fault of its own, but there are logistical difficulties there, not least that Tasmania is yet to declare itself open. More likely is Melbourne, which would be quite an event.

A full process is underway to select the new venue, with Sydney an option too. It’s going to get political.

Late on Sunday, Western Australia Sports Minister Tony Buti made the comical suggestion that, at a mere 10 days’ notice, Perth and Adelaide (the second match of the series) should simply swap Test matches. It was, he said, a “no-brainer”. The South Australian Cricket Association laughed Buti out of town, unsurprisingly.

There is, though, a bit of uncertainty around Adelaide: the South Australian border could close in the week before the game, locking out many fans from across Australia, as well as media and administrators. Already, SA have capped crowds in Adelaide at 35,000.

Meanwhile, Queensland are kindly opening their borders to other states on Monday, the day after their Test match finishes. You couldn’t make it up. Trying to get round Australia at the moment is a fairly farcical exercise.

The ECB have made a nice four-part documentary called The Ultimate Test about the Ashes rivalry, interviewing a number of England players. It threw up some interesting lines on the heat of Ashes battle.

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