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Who will host the fifth Ashes Test?

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6th December, 2021
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Cricket Australia will ramp up the search for a venue for the fifth Test after pulling the plug on Perth’s hopes of Optus Stadium’s first Ashes match.

More than four months after clouds first hovered over the fixture, the match’s venue was finally listed as TBC on Monday with Hobart the favourite to take over.

Quarantine requirements ultimately proved too hard for Perth to overcome, with unease over players being required to play the match in a strict bubble after arriving from the fourth Test in Sydney.

The flow-on effect for broadcast crews was also crucial, with the army of travelling technicians for DRS requirements unable to avoid coming into contact with the public while trying to do their job in quarantine conditions.

“We are very disappointed that we are unable to stage the fifth men’s Ashes Test at Perth Stadium,” Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said.

“We did everything we could in partnership with the WA Government and WA Cricket to make it work under the current border and health arrangements.

“But unfortunately this was not possible.

“We are particularly disappointed for Western Australian cricket fans who were so looking forward to seeing the first ever Ashes Test at the new stadium.”

The decision came after an 11th hour Hail Mary from state government officials to swap Tests with Adelaide.

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Under a plan proposed by sports minister Tony Buti, players would enter Perth from Brisbane without quarantine requirements next week, and Adelaide would in turn host the series finale.

But that move was quickly shut down by South Australian cricket officials on Monday, labelling it a “logisitical nightmare” and reminding Buti that tickets and flights had already been booked by fans.

It means Perth will go two straight summers without a Test match, after last year’s fixture between Australia and Afghanistan was postponed because of COVID-19.

A women’s Test there earlier this summer was also moved while a one-day match between Australia and New Zealand on January 30 looms as a possible return to international cricket in Perth.

“I’m really cranky about the fact it’s the second year in a row we’re missing a Test,” WACA CEO Christina Matthews said.

“But there’s really no one to blame, which makes it really hard. It’s just circumstances.

“We’ve been working on this since the AFL grand final, backwards and forwards.

“There were some concessions, but in the end the broadcasting in cricket is a massive operation … and in the end that’s what stops it from happening.”

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Almost every state has since pushed to host the fifth Test, with discussions already under way and Tasmania the frontrunner to hold its first Ashes fixture.

Victorian government officials argue CA should make a commercial decision during the pandemic with the MCG offering a far greater capacity.

The NSW government and Cricket ACT have stated their desires to host the January 14-18 Test at the SCG and Manuka Oval respectively.

And Queensland sports minister Stirling Hinchliffe on Monday also threw the Gabba forward as an option to host a second Test this summer.

© AAP

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