Paine asks for Sydney sacrifice as Aussie skipper embraces Boxing Day Test

By Sacha Pisani 25 December 2020 7
Paine asks for Sydney sacrifice as Aussie skipper embraces Boxing Day Test

Australia captain Tim Paine asked broadcast staff to make the sacrifice of entering a biosecure bubble to ensure the third Test against India goes ahead at the SCG amid a coronavirus outbreak in New South Wales. 

Cricket Australia (CA) remains committed to playing the third Test in Sydney, but could move the clash to Melbourne, which will host the second Test, starting Saturday.

A coronavirus outbreak in NSW has led to numerous states closing their borders and putting the third Test, due to start at the SCG on January 7, in some doubt.

Asked about broadcast and events staff heading into a hub, like the players, Paine told reporters on Friday: "If that's what it takes to get the Sydney Test up and going, then whilst it's not ideal I think it's a small sacrifice for everyone to make.

"I know the boys would certainly be excited to have another few people into the hub to talk to, I think we're getting sick of each other. 

"If we get a few more people that we can chat to I think it would be good fun. That's a decision they'll have to make. As I've said before, the hub life is not that bad, it's not like we're in jail or anything like that, it's still a pretty good way of living. I don't think any of us complain."

Paine fronted the media on the eve of the Boxing Day Test, after Australia crushed India by eight wickets in the opening Test in Adelaide.

The MCG will be limited to 30,000 fans per day for the second Test following Melbourne's strict lockdown.

"It's going to be different isn't it. Seeing the MCG sometimes with 30,000 you're a bit disappointed when you turn up and I think tomorrow again it's going to have a completely different feel," added Paine.

"Victoria's had harsher lockdowns than most of us, so to have 30,000 people there, if you had have told us that a few months ago I don't think we would have believed you. I think we're just lucky to be playing a Boxing Day Test at the MCG."

The Boxing Day matchup will be the 100th men's Test between Australia and India, just the seventh fixture in the game's history to reach a century of iterations – Australia have won 43 of their previous 99 Tests against India (D27, L28).

Steve Smith (1,431) needs just 69 runs to become the fifth Australia player to reach 1,500 Test runs against India. His batting average of 79.5 from his 22 innings is the highest of any Australian to have logged more than six innings against them.

Australia spinner Nathan Lyon requires nine more wickets to reach 400 in Test cricket – only Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) have taken more for Australia in the men's format.

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