Canberra Could Host Test Cricket For First Time At Revamped Manuka Oval
The Australian capital of Canberra is "in contention to host Test cricket for the first time" as early as the '15-16 Australian summer, according to Jesse Hogan of THE AGE. Canberra's revamped Manuka Oval is "shaping as a replacement venue for the tiring WACA Ground in Perth." The WACA Ground "may never again host a Test match," with Cricket Australia and the Int'l Cricket Council "united in their belief the venue no longer meets international standards.'' Manuka hosted the Australian team in a one day int'l for the first time in February, having "installed broadcast quality lighting that enables it to host day-night matches." It is currently undergoing the next phase of a planned A$35M ($31M) renovation by the end of the decade. The latest upgrade, to be completed by the Prime Minister's XI match against England on Jan. 14, "has involved a complete resurfacing of the ground." It will also "increase the venue's capacity to in excess of 15,000" (THE AGE, 12/17). In Sydney, Peter Lalor reported reality is "slowly dawning that the famous WACA Ground is no longer viable for Test matches." Int'l attention has "focused on the large crack opening in the desiccated pitch" which "has cooked in an unseasonal heatwave." The "famous wicket always breaks apart but this year canyons have opened up," taking their cue from channels dug by the Nine Network for its stump microphones and cameras. WACA confirmed that "this caused the fissures" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/18).