MELBOURNE, Oct 28: The 31st consecutive Boxing Day Test will be played at the MCG in December, underscoring Melbourne’s unique standing in world cricket and backed by a new contract between the ground’s manager and Cricket Australia.
A new venue hire agreement between the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and Cricket Australia covers the next three Boxing Day Tests – through to 2022.
The three-year contract was confirmed as Cricket Australia today unveiled its summer schedule – Melbourne’s iconic December 26-30 fixture will be the second of four Test matches to be played between Tim Paine’s Australians and Virat Kohli’s Indian team.
The Victorian Government, MCC and Cricket Australia will develop a rigorous COVIDSafe plan based on the most up-to-date public health advice to enable a limited number of fans to safely attend the Test this year.
Crowd numbers will be confirmed closer to the match but will be capped at around 25,000 spectators – a quarter of the MCG’s capacity.
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy is one of the most fiercely contested in cricket and world number-one Australia will be seeking to take it back from the visitors this summer. India won the last Boxing Day Test played between the two sides, in 2018 when victory confirmed it would retain the trophy.
Australia is scheduled to play home series against England in 2021 and South Africa in 2022, ensuring a mouth-watering menu of international cricket for Melbourne and Victoria.
The first MCG Boxing Day Test was played in 1950, against England. Since 1980 there has been only one year – 1989 – which has not featured a post-Christmas Test match at the ground.
The Boxing Day Test joins a long list of marquee sporting events under contract to Victoria. The AFL Grand Final will be played at the MCG until at least 2058 while the Australian Open is locked in at Melbourne Park for another 16 years – until 2036.
Long-term contracts for the Formula One Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park (2025) and Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island (2026) are also in place.