India are to return to the Gabba next summer and have agreed to play a day-night Test against Australia. Virat Kohli’s men bypassed Brisbane, where Australia have not lost a Test since 1988, during their previous visit, and also opted against playing a pink-ball match in 2018-19 while recording their first Test series win in Australia.
Cricket Australia has recently been negotiating with the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) regarding next summer’s itinerary, when the teams ranked first and second on the world Test championship table clash in a four-Test series. The BCCI is now set to give the green light for a day-night Test during the tour, which will almost certainly be at Adelaide Oval, while Brisbane will host the first Test of the series.
“A formal announcement will come soon but we have decided to play a day-night test in Australia,” BCCI president Sourav Ganguly told Monday’s edition of the Times of India newspaper. “We will also play one against England at home next February. Day-night Tests will be a regular feature from now on.”
Australia, desperate to atone for their Border-Gavaskar series loss in which suspended superstars Steve Smith and David Warner were sorely missed, are undefeated in seven pink-ball Tests.
Kohli made it clear last month his team were “ready and up for the challenge” of day-night Test cricket in Australia. “We played the day-night Test here [in 2019 at Eden Gardens], we were very happy with how it went,” Kohli said. “It’s become a very exciting feature of any series, so we are absolutely open to play a day-night Test.”
Kohli added “it doesn’t matter to us”, when dismissing the notion India were reluctant to play at the Gabba. Tim Paine’s team have made no secret of the fact they would prefer to start every series at the Gabba, where countless touring teams have failed to adjust to its pace and bounce.
“We’ll certainly try but we’ll have to run that by Virat,” Paine quipped earlier this summer, when asked about the prospect of playing the first Test in Brisbane. “See if we can get his permission. I’m sure we’ll get an answer from him at some stage.”
If the Gabba is locked in to host India then Perth’s Optus Stadium will miss out on hosting a Test next season. Australia will likely play a one-off Test against lowly-ranked Afghanistan in Perth, but at the Waca Ground rather than the new venue.