India held firm to deny Australia and secure an incredible draw in the third Test in Sydney on Monday.

Australia looked in position to take a 2-1 series lead, needing eight wickets on the final day at the SCG, but were left frustrated by a stubborn India batting line-up and costly dropped catches.

Rishabh Pant (97), Cheteshwar Pujara (77), Hanuma Vihari (23 off 161 balls) and Ravichandran Ashwin (39 off 128 balls) helped ensure India were level heading into the final Test in Brisbane starting on Friday.

The SCG pitch played few tricks on day five, and Pant even had India dreaming of an amazing win, the tourists eventually finishing at 334-5, 73 runs adrift of a victory they stopped chasing after Vihari hurt his hamstring.

Josh Hazlewood (2-39) and Nathan Lyon (2-114) made breakthroughs, but Australia were unable to do enough in a Test they looked destined to win as Tim Paine dropped three catches.

Australia landed an early blow as Lyon had Ajinkya Rahane (4) caught at short leg by Matthew Wade.

But Pant – who suffered an elbow injury on Saturday – was put down twice by Paine, on three and 56, off Lyon, and he counter-attacked superbly to put the pressure on the off-spinner.

Pujara brought up 6,000 Test runs, the 11th Indian to achieve the feat as he continued to frustrate Australia.

Pant looked capable of leading India to a shock victory before falling just short of a third Test century, caught by Pat Cummins at gully after trying to attack Lyon again.

The second new ball brought a key wicket for Australia as Hazlewood produced a wonderful delivery to bowl Pujara.

 

A pair of reviews were unable to get Ashwin, who was dropped on 15, a diving Sean Abbott – on for the injured Will Pucovski (shoulder) – unable to hold onto a tough chance.

Vihari and Ashwin, showing no intent to score, remained stoic and defended well against an increasingly desperate Australia.

Paine dropped another chance after Vihari edged a Mitchell Starc (0-66) delivery and it proved to be the final opportunity as India held on for a draw.

The fourth Test between Australia and India is set to go ahead at the Gabba as scheduled, the hosts have confirmed.

Questions were raised over the location of the Test amid reports players would be forced into a hard quarantine and after Brisbane went into a three-day lockdown.

But with restrictions easing, the Test is set to go ahead as planned, beginning on Friday.

Cricket Australia interim chief executive officer Nick Hockley told SEN on Monday: "I had a call last night from the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] secretary, very late last night, and he confirmed that we are good to travel to Brisbane on Tuesday."

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also confirmed the Test was set to be played.

"Fingers crossed, it looks like everything is going ahead," she told a news conference.

"The Gabba will be filled to half the capacity and masks are mandatory for entering and for leaving and moving around the stadium, but if you're sitting there at your seat, you will not need to wear your mask because you are outside.

"If you're going along to the cricket, take your mask, put it on, most people will be coming by public transport anyway where you'll have to wear your mask."

The news came as Australia were attempting to take a 2-1 series lead to Brisbane as they closed in on victory in Sydney.

Virat Kohli called for "strict action" to be taken after India players claimed they were subjected to racial abuse by spectators during the third Test against Australia at the SCG.

Six people were ejected from the iconic Sydney venue on day four after India paceman Mohammed Siraj reported he was the target of abuse while he was fielding on the boundary.

The India team staff also reported alleged racial abuse of Jasprit Bumrah and Siraj on Saturday.

Play was halted for around 10 minutes on Sunday, with umpires and security guards holding discussions before the spectators were removed by New South Wales Police.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) strongly condemned the reported incidents and offered Cricket Australia (CA) all necessary support with an investigation.

India captain Kohli, who is back in his homeland as his wife is expecting a baby, said action must be taken as soon as possible.

He tweeted: "Racial abuse is absolutely unacceptable. Having gone through many incidents of really pathetic things said on the boundary Iines, this is the absolute peak of rowdy behaviour. It's sad to see this happen on the field.

"The incident needs to be looked at with absolute urgency and seriousness and strict action against the offenders should set things straight for once."

CA head of integrity and security Sean Carroll earlier said in a statement: "Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour.

"If you engage in racist abuse, you are not welcome in Australian cricket. CA is awaiting the outcome of the International Cricket Council's investigation into the matter reported at the SCG on Saturday.

"Once those responsible are identified, CA will take the strongest measures possible under our anti-harassment code, including lengthy bans, further sanctions and referral to NSW Police.

"As series hosts, we unreservedly apologise to our friends in the Indian cricket team and assure them we will prosecute the matter to its fullest extent."

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed India have experienced abuse on previous tours of Australia.

"This is my fourth tour to Australia and in Sydney, especially, we have had a few experiences even in the past," he said.

"I think one or two times even the players have reacted and got into trouble in the past, and that's not because of the player, it is actually because of the way the crowd has been speaking, especially the people close to the boundary edge.

"They have been quite nasty, they have been hurling abuse as well, but this is the time they have gone one step ahead and used racial abuse.

"There was an official complaint lodged yesterday, and the umpires also mentioned it to us that we must bring it to their notice as soon as it happens, on the field, and then they will be able to take action.

"It is definitely not acceptable in this day and age. We have seen a lot, right? We have evolved as a society. This must be definitely dealt with an iron fist. And we must make sure that it doesn't happen again."

Australia are strong favourites to take a 2-1 series lead, as India were 98-2 at stumps on the penultimate day after being set 407 to win.

Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins took crucial wickets as Australia’s bowlers closed on victory on day four of the third Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

After Hazlewood removed Shubman Gill for 31 runs, Rohit Sharma fell to Cummins for 52 as an embattled India closed on 98-2, needing 309 more runs for an unlikely win.

Australia had declared on 312-6 after Cameron Green showcased some huge hitting in the afternoon session, surging to 84 off 183 balls, including eight fours and four sixes to set up a tense final session for India.

It was a day of Test cricket once again marred by a crowd incident with play delayed for eight minutes before the tea break while six people were ejected by New South Wales police after India's Mohammed Siraj issued a complaint of alleged abuse to the umpires.

Six people have been removed from the Sydney Cricket Ground on day four of the third test between Australia and India in Sydney.

Play was suspended for eight minutes before tea on Sunday as umpires and security guards attended the boundary area before the six were ejected from the venue by New South Wales Police.

Following the incident, Cricket Australia released a statement on the alleged racist abuse of the India team by a section of the SCG crowd on Saturday.

India’s Mohammed Siraj stopped play on day three to issue a complaint while fielding on the boundary during the afternoon session.

Cricket Austrlia confirmed the incident on Sunday while issuing their statement, although it is not known whether the incident on Sunday was related to racist abuse.

"Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour," said Sean Carroll, Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security, in the statement.

"If you engage in racist abuse, you are not welcome in Australian cricket.

"CA is awaiting the outcome of the International Cricket Council’s investigation into the matter reported at the SCG on Saturday.

"Once those responsible are identified, CA will take the strongest measures possible under our Anti-Harassment Code, including lengthy bans, further sanctions and referral to NSW Police.

"As series hosts, we unreservedly apologise to our friends in the Indian cricket team and assure them we will prosecute the matter to its fullest extent."

Tim Paine hinted David Warner's inclusion for Australia in the third Test against India may not be the only change to the side.

Warner is set to return from an adductor injury when the third Test begins in Sydney on Thursday, and Will Pucovski appears set to make his international debut.

Australia captain Paine confirmed on Wednesday a team had been picked – but he would not publicly name it just yet.

"We've got a team, we're just not releasing it at the moment," he told a news conference.

"The boys are still training at the moment so we'll get through that first unscathed and then we'll try and get a team out as quickly as we can after that.

"Obviously with David playing and potentially more, there's some conversation that need to be had first."

Paine confirmed Pucovski would open if he played, with Joe Burns already omitted from the squad.

That is likely to see Matthew Wade return to the middle-order and Travis Head potentially dropped.

In October and November last year, Pucovski became the first player to score double centuries in consecutive Sheffield Shield innings since Dene Hills in 1997-98.

Paine praised Warner, whose absence has been felt as Australia struggled with the bat in the opening two Tests.

"Davey's been awesome, brings really high intensity, fills guys with confidence around him," he said.

"He's a player that you love having on your side, he's always got plenty to say, really energetic, very professional and I've always loved playing with him and I know he's a player in this team that guys love to have in our side.

"He's made an instant impact with that energy and intensity that he brings.

"Will's been fantastic as well. He's been out of the bubble for a couple of weeks so he's excited, he's fresh, he's been batting really well in the nets and looks ready to go if he was called upon."

Australia will hope the "very likely" return of David Warner can inspire them to regain the series lead as they take on India in the third Test from Thursday.

India produced an impressive turnaround in Melbourne last time out, squaring the series at 1-1 despite being without Virat Kohli and also losing the toss.

Stand-in Ajinkya Rahane stood up in the absence of India's captain, making 112 to set the tourists up for an impressive eight-wicket victory.

However, Australia are undefeated in their last nine Tests against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Indeed, their only defeat in meetings between the teams at the venue came in January 1978.

The hosts reacted to the defeat by dropping out-of-sorts opener Joe Burns, having made just 63 runs in four innings during the series.

Warner and Will Pucovski were both injured and missed the first two Tests but head coach Justin Langer gave a positive update on the former, who he thinks will be able to play through the pain.

Uncapped prospect Pucovski, meanwhile, has passed concussion examinations so will challenge Travis Head for a place in the side.

BUBBLE CONCERN FOR INDIA

India had to isolate five members of their squad as a precaution in the aftermath of the Boxing Day Test, amid concerns over a breach of protocols within the bio-secure bubble.

Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw trained away from the rest of the squad after a video on social media showed them dining at an indoor venue in Melbourne.

However, both teams - and members of the support staff - tested negative for COVID-19 prior to travelling to Sydney to continue the four-match series.

Rohit has not featured for India on the tour so far due to injury, including missing the white-ball games that preceded the Tests, but could be involved at the SCG.

Batsman KL Rahul is out of the rest of the series with a wrist injury, ending speculation he could replace struggling Mayank Agarwal.

LANGER CONFIDENT OF SMITH RECOVERY

While the expected return of Warner could give them a boost, Australia will also be looking for a turnaround from Steve Smith.

Smith has only managed scores of 1, 0 and 8 during his completed innings in Adelaide and Melbourne, with spinner Ravichandran Ashwin having him caught in two of those three dismissals.

Ranked at three in the ICC rankings, he had only failed to reach double figures in two of his 14 previous innings since returning to Test cricket in the 2019 Ashes.

"Imagine how good we'll be when he does start batting well," said a confident Langer. "That's how I look at it.

"He hasn't had the best of series so far, he'll be the first to admit that, but my gosh, what I know about great players is the longer they miss out, the sooner it is that they're coming good again.

"So that puts a big smile on my face. I don't coach Steve Smith. Steve Smith coaches himself and I'm sure he's going to work it out. 

"He is a great player and I can't wait to watch him bat this Test match and the next Test match."

KEY OPTA FACTS

- India have lost only two of their last nine Tests against Australia (W5, D2) - they now search for back-to-back wins against them for just the second time since 2013.
- Australia's loss in the second match snapped an eight-game winning run in Tests at home; they will now look to avoid consecutive home defeats for the first time since November 2016.
- The home team dropped eight catches last time out in Melbourne, their most in a single Test since dropping nine against India in the New Year's Test of 2012 in Sydney.
- Ricky Ponting (8) is the only player to have logged more centuries at the Sydney Cricket Ground than David Warner (7) in international cricket.
- No player has taken more wickets (10) or posted a better bowling economy (2.1) than India's Ravichandran Ashwin throughout this series.
- Nathan Lyon is six wickets shy of becoming just the third Australian bowler to take 400 in men's Tests (Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath); his 89 wickets against India are his most against any team.

Crowd capacity for the Sydney Test between Australia and India starting on Thursday has been reduced to 25 per cent.

Questions were raised over the venue of the third Test after a coronavirus outbreak in New South Wales.

The clash will go ahead at the SCG, but on Monday it was announced the crowd capacity had been cut from 50 per cent to 25.

"In response to the public health situation in NSW, we are working closely with Venues NSW and NSW Health to put appropriate biosecurity measures in place for our staff, players, match officials, broadcasters and fans to ensure we play the third Test at the SCG safely," Cricket Australia (CA) interim chief executive Nick Hockley said.

"Reducing the capacity of the venue is crucial in achieving social distancing requirements, and we sincerely thank ticketholders for their patience, as we process refunds today, reconfigure the SCG seating plan to deliver these social distancing measures and go back on sale."

The four-Test series is locked at 1-1, with some doubts now over the venue for the final match – due to be held in Brisbane.

Meanwhile, Australia paceman James Pattinson has been ruled out of the Sydney Test due to bruised ribs suffered in a fall at home.

Tim Paine does not believe Australia need changes to their line-up despite their struggles with the bat in the second Test loss to India.

India completed an eight-wicket victory over Australia in Melbourne on Tuesday to level the four-Test series at 1-1.

No Australia batsman managed to score a half-century in the second Test as they were bowled out for 195 and 200 at the MCG.

Joe Burns and Travis Head are under the most pressure to keep their spots, but Paine does not believe changes are the answer.

"No, not necessarily," Paine told a news conference when asked if changes were needed.

"I just think you need to bat better, doesn't matter who's out there. We need to be scoring runs, that's our job as the top seven of the Australian cricket team.

"If you're not, obviously they'll look for other people. I think we've got the best people here at the moment, we just haven't been good enough to get the job done."

David Warner could return from an adductor injury in the third Test, while Will Pucovski may make his debut after his fine form in the Sheffield Shield.

Steve Smith, meanwhile, has scored just 10 runs in the opening two Tests as he tries to find form.

Paine felt Australia's batting and fielding were particularly costly in Melbourne.

"I think that was one of the factors [not enough runs], I think dropping a number of catches probably didn't help," he said.

"Just a bit of a sloppy performance I think in the field and just not enough runs again."

The third Test is due to start in Sydney on January 7, although whether that goes ahead as scheduled remains unclear amid a coronavirus outbreak in New South Wales.

Virat Kohli congratulated Ajinkya Rahane after the stand-in India skipper scored an unbeaten century on day two of the Boxing Day Test with Australia in Melbourne.

Rahane was afforded two lives en route to an unbeaten 104 for India, who reached 277-5 and a lead of 82 before stumps was called prematurely due to rain on Sunday.

It was Rahane's 12th Test ton and eighth away from home, his latest hundred coming from 195 balls as the tourists took control of the second Test.

The 32-year-old is also just the second Indian batsman to score a century on his first match as captain in Australia, joining Kohli in achieving the feat.

And Kohli, who has flown back home on paternity leave, took to social media to hail his team-mate's impressive display at the MCG.

"Another great day for us," he posted on Twitter. "Proper test cricket at its best. Absolutely top knock from Jinks @ajinkyarahane88."

Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja (40 not out) put on an unbeaten stand of 104 runs for the sixth wicket to frustrate Australia, who dropped four catches on the second day.

Indian opener Shubman Gill believes the patient batting of Rahane and Jadeja could prove decisive in the Test.

"I think it was a really valuable knock [from Jadeja]. He went into bat when we were 170-something for five," Gill told ANI. 

"It's very easy for us to loosen up and let opposition back in the game. So, the partnership between Ajinkya Rahane and Jadeja was really important for us.

"The way Rahane played was so patient. This knock was all about patience. 

"When you are playing such a high-quality bowling attack sometimes you go in that shell and you are not able to score runs. It was a magnificent knock to watch"

Justin Langer has challenged Australia to show they can become a "great" side when they face wounded India in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

India were humiliatingly bowled out for a pitiful 36 in the first Test at Adelaide Oval, where Australia coasted to an eight-wicket victory.

That was the tourists' lowest total in the longest format and the seventh-worst score of all time in Test cricket.

India will be without their captain and best batsman Virat Kohli for the remainder of the four-match series after he returned home for the birth of his first child.

Paceman Mohammed Shami will also play no part in the rest of the series due to a fractured arm, which is another huge blow to India's hopes of reaching the ICC World Test Championship final.

Australia are expected to be unchanged and head coach Langer wants to see them make another statement in such a big event on the sporting calendar, which will be the 100th Test between the two countries.

Langer said: "We were in for a real arm wrestle of a Test match [in Adelaide]. So it was amazing how things turned around. We know how good a team India is, we know we've got to keep improving.

"If we're going to become a great team we have to get better at winning after we win and people didn't quite understand that, but really good teams keep winning and winning, particularly when they're playing good cricket.

"So it's an area we've addressed, we'll have to start well Boxing Day morning and then be consistent, because we know India will fight back as we saw in the first two days of the Test match in Adelaide."

SELECTION POSERS FOR INDIA 

India were always going to make at least one change for the second Test in the absence of Kohli but there may well be several alterations to the side.

KL Rahul could get the nod, while Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini will be hoping to make their Test debut with Shami unavailable.

Prithvi Shaw's place at the top of the order is also under scrutiny after he made just four in his two brief visits to the crease in the opening Test.

Shubman Gill is pushing for selection as India look to avoid a fourth consecutive Test defeat away from home at a famous venue where they won in the longest format two years ago.

 

MORE OF THE SAME FOR AUSTRALIA

Australia are unsurprisingly set to go with the same line-up that embarrassed India to take a 1-0 lead.

Josh Hazlewood took incredible figures of 5-8 and Pat Cummins claimed 4-21 in an astonishing second-innings capitulation from the tourists.

Joe Burns made a much-needed unbeaten half-century as Australia wrapped up the victory and the opener could do with another significant contribution with the bat.

Langer said when asked about selection: "I'd be a pretty courageous man to change the XI for this Test match after the last one.

"At this stage, unless something happens over the next few days – and things can happen in the world we live in – we'll go in with the same XI, I'd say."

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Australia will be in the hunt for back-to-back Test wins against India for the first time since December 2014.

- India have won their last four Tests on the bounce without Kohli in the side, including an eight-wicket win against Australia in March 2017.

- Steve Smith needs just 69 runs to become the fifth Australian man to reach 1,500 Test runs against India; his batting average of 79.5 from 22 innings is the highest of any Australian to have more than six knocks against them.

- Three of Shaw's last six Test dismissals have seen him bowled, with all of those dismissals coming against pace bowling.

- Nathan Lyon needs just nine more wickets to reach 400 in Test cricket; only Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) have taken more for Australia in the men's game.

Australia opener David Warner has been ruled out of the Boxing Day Test, while Sean Abbott will also miss the Melbourne date with India.

Warner will sit out the blockbuster clash as he continues to recover from a groin injury, which sidelined him for the opening Test in Adelaide, where Australia won by eight wickets.

The 34-year-old Warner suffered an adductor injury during the second ODI against India last month as he watched Australia humble the tourists in the day-night contest at Adelaide Oval.

Australia paceman Abbott has returned to full fitness, but he will also be absent for the second Test due to Cricket Australia's (CA) strict biosecurity protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Warner and Abbott both departed for Melbourne on Saturday as a COVID-19 outbreak moves through Sydney, though they will be unable to enter the squad's hub.

"David Warner and Sean Abbott will re-join the Australian men's Test squad ahead of the third Test against India," a CA spokesman said.

"Warner and Abbott spent time in Sydney outside the team's bio-secure hub to recover from injury. While neither player has been in a specific 'hotspot' as outlined by NSW Health, Cricket Australia's biosecurity protocols do not allow them to re-join the squad in time for the Boxing Day Test.

"Warner has not fully recovered from a groin injury suffered in the ODI Series against India and would not have been available for the second Test match, while Abbott has recovered from a calf strain sustained during Australia A's tour match against India and would have been available for selection for the Boxing Day Test.

"The pair travelled from Sydney to Melbourne to continue their rehabilitation given the changing public health situation in Sydney at the time."

Matthew Wade and Joe Burns opened the batting for Australia in the first Test against India, and the pair are in line to continue atop the order.

Wade (33) and Burns (51 not out) put on a 70-run stand as Australia embarrassed Virat Kohli's India, who were held to a record-low Test score of 36 in the second innings.

The Boxing Day matchup will be the 100th men's Test between Australia and India, just the seventh fixture in the game's history to reach a century of iterations – Australia have won 43 of their previous 99 Tests against India (D27, L28).

Steve Smith (1,431) needs just 69 runs to become the fifth Australia player to reach 1,500 Test runs against India. His batting average of 79.5 from his 22 innings is the highest of any Australian to have logged more than six innings against them.

Australia spinner Nathan Lyon requires nine more wickets to reach 400 in Test cricket – only Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) have taken more for Australia in the men's format.

Steve Smith admitted his back was still troubling him slightly ahead of Australia's second Test against India.

The star Australia batsman was dealing with a stiff back ahead of the series opener, which the hosts won by eight wickets in Adelaide.

Smith said the issue was still causing him some troubles, but he expects to be ready to go for the Boxing Day Test starting in Melbourne on Saturday.

"Just if I sit down for too long really. If I'm up and about and moving around I'm pretty good. I might be a bit stiff after this press conference," he said on Tuesday.

"If I'm moving around or laying down, I'm good. If I just sit around for too long, it's not great for it.

"I'm not worried about it. I think everything will be fine and I'll be good to go."

Smith was dismissed for one in the first innings in the series opener, before facing one ball in the second.

Australia's top scorer in the first Test was Tim Paine, the captain making an important 73 not out in the first innings.

Only Adam Gilchrist (47.6) has a better Test batting average than Paine (33.4) among Australia wicketkeepers and Smith backed the 36-year-old to continue building.  

"He [Paine] is another one who will take a lot of confidence out of the way he played the other day. He took the game on, was scoring at a good rate, and changed the momentum of the game there," Smith said.

"We’ve always known that Tim's had such a good ability with the bat, and I think he's just getting better. If he can keep having those performances and change the momentum, I think that's part of his job as a number seven and a wicketkeeper.

"I think the guys that do that the best are willing to play the situation and take the game on, whether it's pushing a total up or getting us out of a bit of trouble by playing aggressively and taking it on. I thought he did that really well the other day and hopefully he can keep doing it for us."

Australia batsman Joe Burns was thankful for Justin Langer's support and backing amid his form slump.

Burns was picked for the first Test against India despite being in dismal form, and the opener repaid the selectors' faith with an unbeaten half-century in the second innings of the eight-wicket victory.

Before that unbeaten 51, Burns had made just 70 runs in his previous 10 innings.

The 31-year-old said it was special knowing he still had the support of head coach Langer despite his struggles.

"Obviously, JL has been right in my corner over the last few weeks. Working closely with him in the days leading up to the first Test match, that's exactly how we wanted to approach the game," Burns told a news conference on Monday.

"More than anything in the preparation he wanted me to really play my shots in training and be strong minded in our approach. It's always a special feeling when you're not making runs and you have someone in your corner, then to go out and get some on the board.

"In terms of going forward now, every Test match I play I just want to make big hundreds and try to win games of cricket for Australia. That doesn't change. If I made a pair last game, it wouldn't change going into the next match.

"I can see how people make assumptions of how you may be thinking, but at the end of the day, this game at this level is too challenging to even contemplate or think about those sorts of things. For me anyway, I find the game pretty challenging as is."

With David Warner (adductor) and Will Pucovski (concussion) out, Burns opened alongside Matthew Wade in the first Test.

Warner is seemingly the more likely of the injured pair to return for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, but Burns also praised Wade, who made 33 in the second innings.

"I think Wade's role can't be understated. He came out in that fourth innings and those run chases can be tricky, especially when you see a team get bundled out for 30-odd," Burns said.

"We knew that they had to be aggressive and Wadey is such a tenacious player and he's got so much experience and knowhow. I just loved his intent, the fact that he kept the momentum rolling straight into our innings and didn't let them get on top at any stage. Very unfortunate the way he got dismissed, but he did a fantastic job.

"We haven't heard any final ideas about injuries and what not. I think we'll find out more over the coming days. Obviously, we're still in Adelaide at the moment, I think Dave is in Melbourne at the moment as well. We're still soaking up this Test match here."

Cricket Australia (CA) remains committed to playing the third Test of the series against India in Sydney despite a coronavirus outbreak.

New South Wales reported 30 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, leading to other Australian states closing their borders to Sydney and other parts of the state.

Australia won the first Test against India by eight wickets on Saturday, and the third game of the series is not due to begin at the SCG until January 7.

CA is still planning for the Test to go ahead as scheduled in Sydney, but it is assessing the situation.

"The third Vodafone Test is more than two and a half weeks away, which provides us with time to assess the evolving public health situation on the northern beaches of Sydney," CA interim chief executive Nick Hockley said in a statement.

"We have made no changes to our schedule and our preference remains to play the match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

"Cricket Australia has developed a solid track record of delivery throughout this most challenging of summers and will continue to make appropriate and proportionate decisions in consultation with our biosecurity team, governments, state and territory associations, the Australian Cricketers' Association, our partners and venues.

"CA has prepared for the possibility of COVID-19 hotspots and state border closures over the course of the summer and the protocols that we have put in place have been effective in ensuring the safety and success of the men's and women's domestic and international programs to date.

"It was less than a month ago that South Australians were contending with an outbreak of the virus in Adelaide and we have just completed a brilliant first Vodafone Test at the Adelaide Oval. We faced similar issues in relation to the Melbourne Cricket Ground playing host to the Boxing Day Test and we are now less than a week away from welcoming back Victorian crowds after a difficult year for the state.

"We will continue to work closely with all relevant parties to make the right decisions in the appropriate timeframes."

The second Test of the series between Australia and India is due to begin at the MCG on Boxing Day.

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