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News

Australia-India five-Test blockbuster to start in Perth in late November

Australia will also host Pakistan for white-ball cricket in November while schedule has also been drawn up to boost the BBL

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
26-Mar-2024
Australia have a terrific record at Perth Stadium, but all eyes will be on the crowd  •  Getty Images

Australia have a terrific record at Perth Stadium, but all eyes will be on the crowd  •  Getty Images

Perth Stadium has dethroned the Gabba as Australia's preferred first Test venue with the five-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy to begin in Perth on November 22 this year before the series moves to Adelaide for the day-night Test, Brisbane, Melbourne for Boxing Day and Sydney for the New Year's Test.
Cricket Australia unveiled their international schedule for next summer with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as the summer's showpiece event. After Perth, the second Test will be a day-night pink-ball encounter played at Adelaide Oval from December 6-10. The third Test will be in Brisbane from December 14-18. The fourth Test will be at the MCG in the traditional Boxing Day slot on December 26 and the fifth Test will be at the SCG starting January 3.
Australia has an unblemished record at Perth's newest venue having won four out of four Tests there including the first one against India in December 2018, although India went on to claim the series. Perth did not host a Test between Australia and India in the 2020-21 series, which India also won when the final Test was held in Brisbane.
Peter Roach, CA's head of scheduling, said the decision to award Perth the first Test over Brisbane was due to a range of factors with the friendly broadcast timezone for both Australian east coast audiences and India viewers being the final tipping point.
"The clear advice from our national team is that there is a preference to start series strongly at venues where they're really comfortable and Perth and Brisbane they believe are somewhat comparable in terms of the advantage they get out of that," Roach said. "They're the hardest and bounciest pitches in Australia. They also believe that playing day-night Tests in Adelaide is a significant advantage and the stats there are pretty conclusive too.
"So they will look at this schedule and some will say Gabba first would have been better than Perth. Others will say Perth then Gabba. I think that gap has really closed in recent times and the way our players think about that, and having Adelaide as the day-night Test, they'll be really buoyed about that again. So we're really comfortable that this gives us a great opportunity to compete with a really strong Indian team."
Outgoing WA Cricket CEO Christina Matthews is hopeful of a big crowd in Perth after disappointing attendances in recent years, although her preference was to host the pre-Christmas Test.
"I would be looking at crowds of 30-35,000 on day one [for India]," Matthews told ESPNcricinfo as part of an interview to be published later this week. "Getting a space in the calendar is really important. Our preference is the last Test before Christmas. But if it's the first Test, as we've had [the past two years], if we know that's when it's going to be then it makes it easier for everybody to plan. If we can know if it's the first Test of every summer or the third Test every summer, that's the important thing."
While Australia hope to maximise their advantage by starting with Perth and Adelaide, a nine-day gap has been scheduled between the first two Tests. It is understood the BCCI are keen to use that period for India's players to get some specific pink-ball practice and options are being explored as to whether some form of match practice will be scheduled. A Prime Minister's XI match in Canberra is on the cards but whether it is before or after the first Test remains to be seen.

BBL window, but availability issues to remain

The decision to start with Perth and then the day-night Test also means there is a clear window for the BBL to begin after December 10, as those matches are played at night while the Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney Tests are played during the day. CA had to halt the BBL for five days early in the season last summer while the Perth Test between Australia and Pakistan was played in late December. Then the Adelaide Test against West Indies was a day game in mid-January before the day-night Test was held in Brisbane after the BBL had been completed.
The BBL will likely start during the three-day break between the Adelaide and Brisbane Tests and will run through until Australia Day on January 26, with Australia's Test players set to be available for a few weeks after the Sydney Test is completed on January 7.
However, Australia have a two-Test tour of Sri Lanka scheduled for late January and early February which could mean some players are withdrawn from the BBL finals as there is a preference for a seven to 10-day build-up for that series to acclimatise to conditions. The dates for the Sri Lanka tour are yet to be announced. Australia's ODI players will likely head straight to the Champions Trophy after the Sri Lanka tour, with the tournament likely to start on February 19.

Pakistan return for white-ball cricket

Australia will host Pakistan in three ODIs and three T20Is in early November before the Border-Gavaskar Trophy begins. The ODIs will be part of both teams' preparation for the Champions Trophy and is likely to be Australia's last official ODI series before that tournament begins in Pakistan.
The ODI series will start at the MCG on Monday, November 4, the night before the Melbourne Cup public holiday in Victoria. The series will then move to Adelaide on November 8 and finish in Perth on November 10.
The T20I series will run close to the Test series against India and will likely mean that none of Australia's Test players will feature. There is set to be significant turnover in Australia's T20I side by the time the November series starts following the T20 World Cup in June and Australia will likely use the series to develop younger T20I specialists for future World Cups.
The final match of the series takes place in Hobart on November 18 with the first Test against India starting in Perth just four days later.
There is no men's international match in Canberra next summer although there will be a women's T20I during the multiformat Ashes in the lead-up to a historic day-night four-day Test at the MCG between Australia and England starting on January 30, which will celebrate the 90-year anniversary of women's Test cricket.
Australia Men fixtures for 2024-25 season
ODI Series vs Pakistan
4 November: MCG, Melbourne (D/N)
8 November: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (D/N)
10 November: Perth Stadium, Perth (D/N)
T20I Series vs Pakistan
14 November: The Gabba, Brisbane (N)
16 November: SCG, Sydney (N)
18 November: Bellerive Oval, Hobart (N)
Test Series vs India
22-26 November: Perth Stadium, Perth
6-10 December: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (D/N)
14-18 December: The Gabba, Brisbane
26-30 December: MCG, Melbourne
3-7 January: SCG, Sydney

Alex Malcolm is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo