Gabba gets green light for fourth Test

Scott Bailey and Rob Forsaith
·3-min read

Brisbane's Gabba Test is safe with members of India's touring party telling Cricket Australia (CA) they will fly there on Tuesday.

The Queensland government has reduced the crowd capacity for the final Test, which starts on Friday, to 50 per cent while making masks mandatory for any fans moving around the venue.

The status of the series finale has been uncertain for more than a week after unnamed sources from within India's camp pushed for it to be moved from the Queensland capital.

At the centre of their concerns were fears over the strictness of hotel quarantine, with the push known to have frustrated Australia's players.

CA has been insistent all along the Test will go ahead at the ground as planned, after receiving positive feedback from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) bosses.

On Sunday night they received the most important tick of approval.

CA said on Monday that India's touring party confirmed with them they are happy to play in Brisbane and agree to the city's quarantine protocols.

"The fourth Test will be at the Gabba, as planned," interim CA CEO Nick Hockley said on SEN Radio.

"On the basis of yesterday's discussions we are full steam ahead to play the fourth Test at the Gabba."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed Brisbane's three-day lockdown, triggered after the UK variant of COVID-19 had been detected in the city last week, would end at 6pm (local time) on Monday.

There were again no new local cases of the virus on Monday but the government has opted to put a cap of approximately 18,000 fans per day for the fourth Test.

Tickets will be refunded and resold to ensure correct seating.

"The Gabba will be filled to half the capacity and masks are mandatory for entering, leaving and moving around the stadium," Palaszczuk said.

"But if you are sitting there at your seat, you won't have to wear your mask because you are outside.

"Most people will be coming by public transport anyway, where you will have to wear your mask."

Crucial in the discussions between CA and BCCI are believed to be signed assurances from Queensland Health that players will be allowed to mingle within the hotel.

Also, police will not patrol their floors, given CA has hired the entire accommodation complex with players able to roam within.

There had been fears about what the UK strain being detected in one hotel worker in Brisbane could mean for the Indian team after they leave.

However, those concerns now appear to have subsided.

CA bosses have spoken with their Indian counterparts almost daily for the duration of the tour, with quarantine making it the trickiest ever played in Australia.

Hockley met with officials from within India's camp on Saturday evening over the boundary rope, before the final confirmation was given on Sunday night.

Australia last lost at the Gabba in 1988, with their undefeated run of 31 matches at the ground the longest for any team at any venue in world cricket.