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The Gabba to host Test in next summer for Cricket Australia

The Gabba is set to lose the first Test of next summer under a Cricket Australia (CA) revamp of home international scheduling, with pink-ball matches to be played against South Africa and Pakistan. CA is finalising international, domestic and Big Bash League schedules for the 2016-17 season, with an announcement expected this month. According to Fairfax Media, the Gabba will miss out on hosting the season's opening Test, but will feature as the venue for the first Test of the Australia-Pakistan series, set to be a day-night match in December.

A seven-Test schedule featuring South Africa and Pakistan was initially planned, but the subsequent reduction to six matches impacted Canberra's hopes. Officials were confident Canberra would be given a Test following strong crowds at last year's World Cup and last summer's Australia-India One Day International. Blundstone Arena underwent a $22 million upgrade in time for the World Cup, which makes it difficult politically to take Test matches away from the venue.  The fixture is expected to be officially released sometime this month. Cricket ACT CEO Cameron French said,

We think our community would support one Test match every four years, one-dayers each year around that and Big Bash content as well hopefully.

It is the first time since the 2003 series against Zimbabwe that the first test of the summer is not played at the iconic Brisbane venue, ironically that was also played at the WACA.The Test summer will start in November with Australia against South Africa at the WACA, with the ability for the match to be beamed into lounge rooms on the east coast at prime time weighing heavily in Perth's favour.

Brisbane has struggled to attract decent Test crowds outside Ashes years but, by beginning the summer in Perth, there is a belief that numbers should be boosted by the city's strong expatriate South African population. There will be little change to the BBL season, with no extra games in the draft schedule and a push for a match to be held on Christmas Day not getting over the line. 


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