Cricket news - Australia chalk out Gabba opener, Adelaide D/N Test for India's visit

India didn't play at the Gabba in Brisbane during their series win in 2018-19.

India didn't play at the Gabba in Brisbane during their series win in 2018-19.

"We will ask Virat (Kohli), see if we can get his permission to play here [in Brisbane] and maybe even get a pink-ball Test if he is in a good mood."

That was Tim Paine's strictly tongue-in-cheek swipe at his Indian counterpart in November last year after the Australian Test team had extended their unbeaten run at the Gabba to 31 years. While it's not clear whether Paine did seek Kohli's permission or not, the Australian captain has certainly got his way with Brisbane having scored the opening Test of the four-match series against India, if it goes through as per schedule. Not to forget the pink-ball Test, India's first-ever away from home, at the Adelaide Oval to boot.

India making the trip Down Under might not still be guaranteed considering international borders still remain shut in both countries, and the Covid-19 spread still in a pandemic stage. Australia though is on the cusp of easing most of its restrictions, and live sport is about to commence very soon. If they can maintain the momentum, it looks very likely that India will make it for what will be the most highly-anticipated showdown in many years.

And when they do, the series will start with the opener at the Gabba on December 3 followed by the day-night Test in Adelaide on December 11 before the two traditional Tests at Melbourne and Sydney on either side of New Year's Eve. India is also likely to play three ODIs in January in Perth, which misses out on a Test, Sydney and Melbourne. Kohli & Co were originally scheduled to arrive here in early October to play a T20I tri-series involving the West Indies. But that series would now depend on whether the ICC decides to go ahead with the T20 WC after their meeting on Thursday (May 28).

The BCCI, meanwhile, sounded non-committal towards the announcement of the dates insisting that the "call on the venues" rested with Australia as the host country.

Speaking to Cricbuzz, treasurer Arun Dhumal though was slightly surprised with the fact that the situation had improved enough for Cricket Australia (CA) to do away with the hub idea and actually spread the Tests out. Both Adelaide, based on the Oval Hotel which will be complete in September, and Perth, as they have two Test venues rather close to each other, had incidentally expressed the willingness to host the Indians in case the Test series was to be played in a hub scenario.

"They [CA] were thinking of hosting it at one venue but it seems that they are confident it would be safe for the players to travel and organise... so be it, we'll have no problem with that," he said. "This is ideally their tour, as the host country, they have to take the call with regards to venues," Dhumal added.

There has been a lot of talk around Australia about how India had avoided playing in Brisbane when they last toured here in 2018-19. There, however, is no evidence to Kohli & Co having opted out of playing at the Gabba. They instead played at the Optus Stadium in Perth, which ended up producing a rather fiery pitch, and they ended up losing the Test before bouncing back at the MCG to take a lead, which eventually won them their first-ever Test series on Australian soil.

The hosts have historically preferred starting their Test summer in Brisbane, where they eventually ended up playing a day-night Test against Sri Lanka in January 2019 after India left these shores. And ever since there's been a clamour to get Kohli's team first-up at the venue aptly termed the Gabbatoir based on the Australians' indomitability here over three decades.

According to a report in The Australian, the schedule will be officially announced on Friday (May 29), but again all this remains very much subject to the clearing up of many more restrictions around the world.