Cricket Australia announced the fixtures this morning, which will see the international teams go head to head in the National Capital on 2 and 4 December.
“Many iconic summer events in the ACT have been compromised due to COVID so the opportunity to watch the cricket powerhouse that is India versus a full-strength Australian team live at Manuka Oval this December is something many Canberrans will be eagerly looking forward to. They will be the hottest tickets in town,” he said.
The teams will face off in the first two games of the three-match 50-over ODI series at the SCG on 27 and 29 November, before playing in Canberra on 2 December.
Manuka Oval will then host the first match of the T20 Series on 4 December, before they head to Sydney for two additional matches on 6 and 8 December.
The last time Australia hosted India for an ODI at Manuka Oval in January 2016 just under 700 runs were scored.
With the pitch having hosted no football over the winter, the playing surface is in pristine condition, making it quite possible another run scoring extravaganza is on the cards.
In an announcement that was just 10 days in the making, next month’s matches will some of the first men’s international cricket played before a live crowd since February.
The Sydney and Canberra games will kick off Cricket Australia’s revised schedule for the India tour of Australia.
“The games were scheduled to be played in Brisbane and all of our operational plans had been focused around Brisbane for the six white ball games … That didn’t eventuate,” Cricket ACT CEO James Allsopp said.
“As soon as there was an opportunity, we put our hands up, we feel like we can make the set up here and the biosecurity set up in terms of where the teams go a really safe environment.”
Mr Allsopp expects a crowd of “around” 5,000 in for both matches, or 50% capacity, with tickets to go on sale “shortly” in a first in best dressed.
Venues Canberra Chief Operating Officer Matt Elkins said the fan experience this summer will be different to years past in several ways, as it will still be subject to government restrictions.
“A big part of the overlay for being COVID-safe is limiting contact points both for patrons and for staff,” Mr Elkins said.
“We won’t be running pass outs and we will be asking people not to bring bags to match day, as the same we have for GIO Stadium.
In addition, groups will be asked to distance from one another, and patrons will also have to take their food and drinks straight back to their seats.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr welcomed the announcement, and said he was pleased to see two of the world’s best cricket teams face off in the Territory.
“In what has been a challenging year for Canberrans, it is great news that Manuka Oval has been chosen as a venue by Cricket Australia to host international cricket this summer,” he said.
“Bringing international cricket back to Manuka Oval will provide another opportunity to witness world-class sport in our city.
“After our biggest summer of cricket in the 2019/20 season, watching Australia and India continue their rivalry will provide a great spectacle to kick off summer in our capital.”
Mr Allsopp said the finalization of the international cricket fixture will allow for confirmation of this summer’s Big Bash League schedule, and is confident a few games can locked in for Manuka Oval in the coming days.