Optus Stadium put on a good show for its debut performance.
Optus Stadium put on a good show for its debut performance.

No Indian summer for Gabba as Perth passes test

PERTH cricket fans may be irate at the quality of their fish burgers but Brisbane supporters are the ones about to be force-fed humble pie.

 

The relative success of the first international match at Perth's new 55,000 seat Optus Stadium on Sunday has cemented that city as a Test match venue against India next summer, almost certainly at Brisbane's expense.

 

India will play four Tests and the venues are expected to be Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth with Brisbane and Canberra to host Sri Lanka in January in what could be Test cricket's first series played exclusively under lights.

 

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This would be unofficial confirmation the Gabba has slipped to fifth place in the pecking order of Australian Test venues though Brisbane is likely to be compensated with a 50-over game against South Africa in November.

 

Some Perth fans vented their spleens on social media on Sunday over the price of beer and food, including some low quality fish burgers, but the big ticket items worked well.

 

The crowd of 53,000 was one of the biggest for a 50-over game in Australia for several years and the match wicket performed admirably despite a series of green grass lines giving it the look of a seaweed salad.

 

A robust contest which featured England making 259 and Australia 247 franked the quality of the pitch and the outfield.

 

England's flying start put any fears about the pitch instantly to rest and ball from Josh Hazlewood which cleared keeper Tim Paine's outstretched hands said all you needed to know about the bounce.

 

Had the drop-in pitch proved an abject failure in Perth there may have been question marks over staging a Test there next summer but there are no such fears after the first one-dayers.

 

Brisbane for many years felt it had an advantage over Perth's time honoured but tired WACA ground, which had a capacity of just 25,000 and poor facilities which exposed too many fans to the summer sun.

 

But the new Perth ground has a capacity of 20,000 more than the Gabba and superior access and more modern facilities than the Gabba where a six-stage renovation was completed almost two decades ago.

The Gabba is set to drop to fifth in the Test rankings.
The Gabba is set to drop to fifth in the Test rankings.

 

The Perth and Brisbane grounds are similar in that football interests have won out by leaving no grassy areas beyond the boundary, maximising the returns for seated areas but killing any vestige of character or charm.

 

Despite the Perth pitch proving serviceable, Gabba officials will firmly rebutt any fresh push for a drop-in, particularly after the debacle of the Boxing Day Test where a docile drop-in deck provided a Test which became a five-day snooze feast.



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