Melbourne: Australia opener Matthew Wade Sunday said his side would not like the scheduled final Test in Brisbane being shifted to Sydney even as reports emerged that India are reluctant to play at the Gabba because of stricter quarantine protocols there.
According to reports, the Indians are not keen to travel to Brisbane in view of the stricter quarantine protocols in Queensland and want to play back-to-back games in Sydney where the third Test begins on Thursday.
“I have not heard of this, but we obviously prefer not to (play back-to-back in Sydney). The schedule has been rolled out and we prefer to stick to that. Regardless, if that is a quarantine-based hotel, go to the ground, play and come back,” Wade said in a virtual press conference.
“Cricket Australia have been firm that they will stick to the schedule that we rolled out at the start of the summer so we fully expect to play at Gabba. There is no secret that we would love to play at Gabba”
“Harder quarantine and stricter bio-security protocols will be there. But we are ready for more sacrifice and face more challenges,” he added.
India has not won a single Test match at the Gabba.
According to Australian media reports, the Indians are not happy at the possibility of going to another strict quarantine in Brisbane since they have already served 14-day quarantine upon entry to Australia.
The fourth and final match is scheduled from January 15. The four-match Test series is currently level at 1-1.
“From our position, there is no uncertainty, we are going to play at the SCG and then playing at the Gabba until we are told that it is going to change. So, we are rolling to the next game expecting what is going to be. It is out of our control and there is nothing we can do.”
He side-stepped the issue of five India Test players, including vice-captain Rohit Sharma, being placed in isolation and an investigation launched into a possible breach of COVID-19 bio-security protocol after a video of them sitting at an indoor restaurant here surfaced.
“What India is doing, I have not really thought much about. As a group and personally have not thought much about what India is doing outside a cricket ground. That is the situation. We are thinking of how we can do much better,” said the 33-year-old left-handed batsman.
Wade said he expects star batsman Steve Smith to come back to form after underwhelming performances in the first two Tests and deal better with the Indian spinners led by R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
“They (Ashwin and Jadeja) are a tough spin duo to crack, very consistent and have bowled terrifically well, especially in Melbourne. Probably they got more spin and bounce, more than what we expected in first innings. That was a little bit of shocker, but we expected that to come into play.
“We didn’t adapt quick enough to that wicket, but Steve (Smith) played against Ashwin plenty of times before this and he has been very successful on our wickets against him. I am sure he will be fine and no problems at all.
“We have to find a way, that’s the nature of the beast,” said Wade who has scored 111 runs from the four innings he has played so far.
His batting position has been a topic of discussion after David Warner and Will Pucovski were named in the squad for the third Test but Wade said he is ready to bat anywhere.
“I have really enjoyed opening, moving forward if that is something that selectors want me to keep doing more, I am comfortable doing. If I slide back down the order, I will do that also.
“I am ready from 1 to 7. I am happy to bat wherever playing games for Australia, I will take every run I get.”
Wade said he is also prepared about the possibility of even being dropped.
“Will (Pucovski) has come back into the squad, so whether they make that change straight way and I slid back down, or whether I don’t play at all, who knows.
“I am not a selector but no indication at this stage and I prepare tbat where I have been batting and if I slide back down, I am comfortable there as well.”