Melbourne: Cricket Australia has reinstated the tri-series ODI concept and extended its regular test dates to host India in a four-match series which breaks with recent convention.
Australia unveiled a southern summer program Tuesday that features two tests against New Zealand in Brisbane and Hobart at the start of December followed by a four-test series against India starting Dec. 26, the traditional Boxing Day slot at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The subsequent tests will be played in Sydney and Perth and the series concludes in Adelaide from Jan. 24-28.
A two-match Twenty20 international series will follow that, leading into the a Feb. 5-March 8 blockbuster limited-overs tri-series involving former world champion Australia against World Cup holder India and 2011 World Cup runnerup Sri Lanka. Australia abandoned the tri-series format in favor of bilaterial series for three seasons amid diminishing popularity for the 50-over game and increasing interest in T20, but has reinstated the three-way contest in what will be a hectic summer.
"ICC Cricket World Cup winner India is also the No. 1-ranked test team in the world at the moment. Sri Lanka has also been in great form as we saw in the World Cup, while we know New Zealand is always a formidable opponent that thrives when playing Australia," Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said in a statement. "With the commencement of the ICC World Test Championship we know that every test win is vital and the Australian team will be keen to start the home season positively against New Zealand."
The test series will clash with the Australian Open, the annual Grand Slam tennis fixture in Melbourne in late January, meaning the domestic broadcast audiences for both sports will be split.
The main test series in Australia has usually culminated with the New Year's match in Sydney in the first week of the new year, but the Australian cricket team has a packed schedule in the leadup to the domestic summer with an ODI series and three tests in Sri Lanka in August-September followed by an ODI series and two tests in South Africa in October-November.
Dec. 1-5, Brisbane — Australia vs. New Zealand, 1st test.
Dec. 9-13, Adelaide — Australia vs. New Zealand, 2nd test.
Dec. 26-30, Melbourne — Australia vs. India, 1st test.
Jan. 3-7, Sydney — Australia vs. India, 2nd test.
Jan. 13-17, Perth — Australia vs. India, 3rd test.
Jan. 24-28, Adelaide — Australia vs. India, 4th test.
Feb. 5, Melbourne — Australia vs. India.
Feb. 8, Perth — India vs. Sri Lanka.
Feb. 10, Perth — Australia vs. Sri Lanka.
Feb. 12, Adelaide — Australia vs. India.
Feb. 14, Adelaide — India Vs. Sri Lanka.
Feb. 17, Sydney — Australia vs. Sri Lanka.
Feb. 19, Brisbane — Australia vs. India.
Feb. 21, Brisbane — India vs. Sri Lanka.
Feb. 24, Hobart — Australia vs. Sri Lanka.
Feb. 26, Sydney — Australia vs. India.
Feb. 28, Hobart — India vs. Sri Lanka.
March 2, Melbourne — Australia vs. Sri Lanka.
March 4, Brisbane - 1st final.
March 6, Adelaide — 2nd final.
March 8, Adelaide — 3rd final.
Feb. 1, Sydney — Australia vs. India.
Feb. 3, Melbourne — Australia vs. India.