Lockdown hope for Adelaide's first Test

Steve Larkin and Rob Forsaith
·3-min read

South Australia's drastic six-day lockdown gives Adelaide its best chance to host the first Test between Australia and India, the state's top medico says.

But SA's chief health public health officer Nicola Spurrier says there's no guarantee the series opener can be held at Adelaide Oval from December 17.

"I can't tell you exactly ... I don't have a crystal ball," Spurrier told reporters on Thursday.

"But what we're doing now is putting us in the best position possible to be able to have that cricket match.

"The reason we are doing what we are doing, which is pretty drastic ... is because we want to get back to the state of having just a few restrictions and to be able to do things like have the cricket."

Cricket Australia (CA) remain committed to hosting the match at Adelaide Oval while closely monitoring the coronavirus cluster in Adelaide, which prompted SA government and health officials to enforce an unheralded state-wide lockdown.

The MCG and SCG are possible alternate venues - Australia and India's squads will already be in Sydney in early December and the second Test will be held in Melbourne from Boxing Day.

No new COVID-19 cases were reported in SA by lunchtime Thursday.

However, Thursday's change in border policy from Victoria served as a reminder of the potential logistical nightmare that could confront CA this summer if the first Test starts in Adelaide as planned.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has effectively closed his state's border to SA for 48 hours, with a permit system to be introduced on Sunday so essential and agricultural workers can cross over.

If the same arrangements are in place next month then behind-the-scenes workers could be scrambling to reach Melbourne before the second Test starts.

Securing exemptions for India and Australia's players, coaches and support staff is likely to be straightforward for CA but broadcast staff, officials and technicians responsible for the Decision Review System (DRS) will also need to cross the border.

The Queensland-NSW border looms as a similar hurdle if still shut during the week leading up to the fourth Test, which starts on January 15.

But that match must feel like a lifetime away for a governing body that is appreciably living a 'one day at a time' mantra after a chaotic week, during which all Adelaide-based BBL players left the city for Coffs Harbour in NSW.

"I know there's some pretty scrambled brains at the moment, trying to work through what all the contingency plans are. We have to be agile, we saw it with footy, rugby, State of Origin," Australia coach Justin Langer said.

National limited-overs squad members also had to hastily pack and fly to Sydney from Perth, Hobart and Brisbane because of their respective states' policy regarding travellers returning from Adelaide.

The majority of Australia's Test squad had been due to arrive in Adelaide on December 9 to prepare for the day-night clash.