Earlier in September, Cricket Australia announced its move to postpone Australia’s first-ever Test match against Afghanistan over the alleged ban on women’s cricket following the Taliban takeover. A three-day cricket tournament has since replaced the game slated for November 26 in Brisbane to cover for the fixture in preparation to face England in the Ashes series.
The decision to postpone the match comes from consultations between Australian and Afghan cricket boards. This is a big blow to the Australian team looking forward to a historic Test match and the Afghanistan 11 facing off with a stronger team in Tests to prove their mettle. There is a possibility that the match will be held soon once the situation is handled. Similarly, Cricket Australia looks forward to hosting the Afghan cricket players in the upcoming Big Bash League season. Afghanistan is one of the most excellent ambassadors in cricket, and they look forward to hosting both men’s and women’s teams.
This counts as the fourth match Australia has postponed this year, with the first one being their three-match Test campaign against South Africa being marred by COVID-19 travel restrictions. However, Australia has not played Test matches in over 11 months, so things might be right for them in the upcoming Ashes series.
On the other side, Afghanistan captain and all-rounder Mohammed Nabi expressed his disappointment over the postponement but was thankful about the match not being canceled.
The details in this pitch report include information about Bellerive Oval, also known as Blundstone Arena. The pitch has hosted several T20 and ODI matches, and recently, it was the opening ground for the just concluded Women’s Big Bash League. In addition, the pitch hosted its first Test match when Australia played against Sri Lanka in 1989. The postponed match would have been the most historic match of the year, with Australia hosting Afghanistan for the first time in Test matches.
The field can host over 15,000 fans, but with the COVID-19 restrictions in place, only a controlled crowd would be allowed inside the stadium. The pitch here greatly favors batters, especially if a team bats second. This mostly happens because of the dew.
Since the match was to be held on November 27, the pitch report states that this is the wettest month of the year. The maximum temperature is expected to be over 21°C throughout the week, with lows of 0°C in the mornings. In addition, rains will most likely be experienced, which would significantly change the outcome of the matches.
At the moment, the two teams can only hope that matters are resolved early on to ensure adequate planning. Nevertheless, this first Test match will mean a great deal for Afghanistan.