‘Expect us to go to the Gabba’: Australia want to stick to Test schedule

Australia want to close out the Test series at the Gabba, arguing for the series schedule to remain as it is rather than the final two matches being played in Sydney in order for India to avoid quarantine in Brisbane.

The latest instalment in a chaotic summer came on Sunday when it emerged that the Indians were expressing unwillingness to travel to Brisbane for the final leg of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy campaign if it meant they had to be holed up in their hotel rooms when they weren't playing or training.

Matthew Wade is keen to get to Brisbane.Credit:Getty Images

That is the scenario confronting both sets of players and support staff unless Queensland, which has shut its border to NSW, amends restrictions on visitors from its southern neighbour before the fourth Test begins on January 15.

But with a formidable record at the Gabba – Australia have not lost a Test there since 1988 and India have not won at the ground before – Tim Paine's side are eager to retain Queensland's place on the calendar with the series locked at 1-1 and two games to play.

"There is no secret we like starting the summer there for that exact reason," batsman Matthew Wade said. "Our record is very good there and we tend to play good cricket there. We would love to play at the Gabba.

"Two games back-to-back at the SCG would obviously not be something that we'd want to do. We'd be much more comfortable playing the schedule as it rolls out.

"I would expect us to go to the Gabba regardless if that is more of a quarantine-based hotel, to the ground, come home [situation]. We fully expect to be going to Brisbane to play the Gabba Test."

Wade said players had not been told the finer details of what the biosecurity protocols would be in Brisbane but with the virus re-emerging in Sydney they have been made aware they will be more restrictive than the rules they have had to adhere to in Adelaide and Melbourne.

Players and team staff have been able to leave their hotels to walk around outside and eat at cafes and restaurants as long as they are in an outdoor area of the venue.

Many have spent months in either quarantine or living in a bubble of sorts, with lengthy periods without seeing family members.

"I'm sure there is [apprehension] for some players," Wade said of restrictions being ramped up again, particularly in Brisbane.

"It is no difference to people coming home internationally and having to do hard quarantine. It's not an ideal situation. But there is not much we can do about it. If that's what the [Queensland] government are going to make us do to play a game then we're willing to sacrifice.

"A lot of the players knew coming into it [that] it wasn't going to be an ideal situation and if something went south we were going to have to make some more sacrifices along the way. As a group we understand that, we're ready for the challenge, we're just keen to get to Sydney to get started and then roll into Brisbane, whatever that looks like.

"We'd all love to be running around outside, as everybody in Australia would love to be doing that right now. We all knew were going to get some curveballs and this is one of them."

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