Manuka Oval to host first Test against Sri Lanka

1461114952440Finally, Canberra’s Manuka Oval has passed the Test. After narrowly missing out to Hobart on playing the game’s long form in the ACT next summer, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland announced on Wednesday Australia will play a Test against Sri Lanka there in the 2018-19 summer.

It came on the back of the announcement Australia will play New Zealand in the second of a three-game series for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in December.

The Test will replace Canberra’s ODI for the 2018-19 summer in the four-year agreement between the ACT government and Cricket Australia to hold international cricket in the nation’s capital.

It could affect the roll-out of Greater Western Sydney’s proposed $800 million Manuka Oval redevelopment, if the Manuka Green project is given the green light.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr told Fairfax Media Manuka Oval would not be a construction site during the historic Test.

That could delay any potential starting date of the Manuka Green project. Instead, the government will invest $3-10 million to upgrade Manuka, which could include increased capacity, bigger replay screens and improved media and player facilities, as well as the widening of entry gates.

Barr was “delighted” to have finally landed an historic Test for Canberra. “The ACT government has been working towards the goal of hosting international Test cricket in Canberra for many years,” he said in a statement.

“It is a significant win not only for Canberra cricket fans, but the broader community who will benefit from the increased coverage of our city during the test match and a boost to the local economy.

“We are committed to ongoing investment in sport in the Territory, and we have invested significantly in Manuka Oval in recent years to ensure that the venue is well placed to host Test match cricket.
“Canberra has proven itself an ideal city for hosting world-class sporting events.

“For cricket alone, over the past couple of summers we have hosted men’s and women’s One Day International games, the Cricket World Cup and year after year we host a successful Prime Minister’s XI.”

The ODI against New Zealand will be played on December 6, as part of the Australian men’s team summer schedule announced Wednesday morning.

Sydney will host the first of that ODI series on December 4, and Melbourne the potential decider on December 9, and a second ODI series will be played in New Zealand in 2017.

New Zealand will be one of four international sides to travel to Australia this summer, with South Africa, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka also playing here.

Barr said direct flights between Canberra and Wellington, which start in September, will be in place in time for the ODI.

“Following successful negotiations between the ACT government and Singapore Airlines the flights are a game changer for our city and will further encourage visitation to our region,” he said.

“New Zealanders will be able to fly directly to Canberra to watch this ODI, and to enjoy world-class cricket at one of the best boutique sporting venues in Australia.”

The summer schedule will break from tradition by starting in Perth with a Test match against South Africa on November 3 at the WACA

The three-match series against the Proteas will continue in Hobart from November 12 to 16, before a Test at the Adelaide Oval from November, 24-28 which CA says has “potential” to be a day-night Test, as it was last year. (Courtesy Sydney Morning Herald)

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