July 6, 2000

Australia to make bid to equal Test record at the Gabba

Australia will make their bid to equal the world record for consecutive Test victories against the current record holders the West Indies, at The Gabba in November, it was announced today with the release of international program for the 2000/01 season.

Stephen Waugh's side has won ten Tests in a row, stretching back to a ten-wicket win over Zimbabwe in Harare last October, followed by successive series whitewashes against Pakistan, India and New Zealand.

And victory over the West Indies in the opening Test of the five-match Ansett Australia series will equal the record of eleven successive wins, held by Clive Lloyd's all-conquering side of the mid-1980s.

If Australia do win in Brisbane, they then have the chance to make the record all their own in the second match of the series at the WACA, Perth, starting on December 1.

There is additional significance in the choice of The Gabba as the venue for the first Test of the 2000/01 summer.

It was there that the first-ever tied Test was played out, between Australia and the West Indies in 1960/61, the start of a thrilling series, eventually won 2-1 by Australia, and this coming summer is the fortieth anniversary of that encounter.

In a new development in the Carlton & United Series, this summer contested between Australia, the West Indies and Zimbabwe, reserve days for the best-of-three finals series have been dispensed with.

Other features of the international program include a visit by the West Indies to the Northern Territory for a match against an NT Cricket Association Invitation XI at Alice Springs on 14 November.

Australia A will also play a four-day match against West Indies in Hobart in December. In previous years an Australian XI has contested the equivalent match.

The West Indies is scheduled to arrive in Perth on 3 November and begin their tour with the traditional opener against the Chairman's XI at Lilac Hill on November 7.

Zimbabwe will arrive in Brisbane on 8 January. Both touring sides will play day-night matches against Australia A, the West Indies in Adelaide on January 9 and Zimbabwe in Brisbane on January 12.

Commenting on the international program for the 2000/01 season, Australian Cricket Board Chief Executive Malcolm Speed said: "This promises to be a superb summer of cricket.

"When we came up against the West Indies in the Caribbean last year there was little to choose between the two sides and both the Test and one-day series were drawn.

"The fact that we are going for the world-record of consecutive Test wins and that this is the fortieth anniversary of the 1960/61 tour just adds extra spice to what is already one of the most keenly contested and eagerly awaited tours in our cricketing calendar.

"The visit of Zimbabwe to compete in the Carlton & United Series will also be something to look forward to.

"We were the first side they played in one-day international cricket, back in 1983, and this is their first visit here since 1994/95.

"They showed what a dangerous side they can be in last year's World Cup by reaching the Super Sixes stage of the competition and this summer they should be equally competitive."

The program for the domestic season, including the Mercantile Mutual Cup and the Pura Cup, will be released in the near future.