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The second India vs Sri Lanka Test, a day-nighter in Bengaluru, will have crowd attendance at 50% capacity, but the first Test, in Mohali, which is also likely to be Virat Kohli's 100th, will have to be played behind closed doors from March 4 to 8 because of Covid-19 restrictions.
A Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) office bearer confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that spectators would, indeed, be allowed for the five days of the Bengaluru Test, from March 12 to 16. As for Mohali, a PTI report said that BCCI "won't be allowing any spectators". ESPNcricinfo understands that KSCA has begun the sale of tickets for the Bengaluru Test.
The explanation for the decision to disallow spectators from attending the Mohali Test is twofold, according to the PTI report: firstly, the high Covid-19 cases in and around Mohali, and secondly, because most of the Indian players are scheduled to link up with their respective IPL squads just after the end of the second Test, in a bubble-to bubble transfer.
"Yes, apart from the people, who are on duty for the Test match, we are not allowing any general spectators as per the directive of BCCI," Punjab Cricket Association treasurer RP Singla was quoted as saying by PTI. "Still there are fresh Covid cases emerging in and around Mohali, so it's better we take all safety protocols.
"Obviously, the fans miss out because an international match at Mohali is happening after almost three years."
The two teams are currently engaged in a T20I tussle, which India are leading 1-0 after winning the first game, on Thursday in Lucknow, by a 62-run margin. The second match will be played later today in Dharamsala, and the third will also be played at the same venue tomorrow.