Canberra to host a Test in 2018-19
Manuka Oval in Canberra will host Test cricket for the first time in 2018-19, when it will become Australia's tenth Test venue. Sri Lanka are Australia's likely opponent for the inaugural Canberra Test, a match that will provide Australia with its first new Test ground since 2003, when both Darwin and Cairns were added to the list for a Top-End series also against Bangladesh.
Canberra first hosted an ODI during the 1992 World Cup but was then shelved as an international ground until 2008; since then it has hosted a further seven one-day internationals and an eighth is scheduled for this coming summer against New Zealand. Its status as a cricket city has grown significantly in recent years, having hosted the Sheffield Shield final in 2014 and the BBL final in 2015.
"Over several years, Canberra has demonstrated a strong appetite for international cricket, with consistently strong crowds coming to Manuka Oval for one-day international matches," Cricket Australia's chief executive James Sutherland said. "Today's announcement recognises the continued growth of the sport not only in the ACT but the wider region, and is a testament to the effort being placed on participation in the territory with more than 32,000 playing cricket last season and this season on track for further increases.
"Part of our charter is to showcase the game to as many cricket fans around the nation to encourage growth, and with more than one million people living in the ACT and Southern NSW region, we believe there is a great advantage in Canberra hosting a Test Match and that's one of the reasons that we will host a Test match in Canberra in 2018-19."
India are due to tour Australia for four Tests and Sri Lanka for two during the 2018-19 season, which would mean one of the six state capitals would miss out on a Test in order for Canberra to fit into the schedule. Hobart would be the likely candidate to be cut, with Perth's new multi-sport stadium expected to be open by early 2018 and likely to host a Test against India.