The newly-opened Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia, has attracted widespread praise after staging its first official sports event over the weekend.
England saw off Australia by 12 runs in a One Day International cricket match, thanks to an impressive performance by swing bowler Tom Curran. The Surrey player took 5-35 as Australia fell for 247 all out, to England’s 259.
Prior to the match, former Australian cricket captains Mark Taylor and Michael Clarke were highly complementary of the playing surface after inspecting the pitch for local broadcaster Channel 9.
“The curators deserve a lot of credit; the ground is in unbelievable nick,” Clarke said.
Former England star Kevin Pietersen also spoke highly of the pitch, saying that although it did not look great, it seemed to be playing very well.
According to the West Australian, Pietersen said: “I’ve been impressed. The wicket’s been lovely, we’ve seen a couple of balls really take off. We saw one in particular.
“It doesn’t look great. Michael Clarke mentioned earlier, it looks a bit like the Bangalore wicket – plates everywhere, grass covering over the cracks. But she’s played well. This has played OK today.”
Meanwhile, the stadium has pledged to “set a new benchmark” for disability access by promising a “five-star experience” for the entire community.
Features include 60 purpose-built permanent ACROD bays within the venue and Stadium Park as well as 28 per cent more wheelchair positions than required in the 2013 National Construction Code, and an additional 327 enhanced amenity seats for people who have mobility requirements that are not in wheelchairs.
Visitors will also benefit from three changing places toilets for users requiring specialised assistance have been installed across the venue, 60 universal access toilets and a total of 12 lifts throughout the venue.
Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray praised the efforts of developers at the site: “Optus Stadium is truly a venue for all Western Australians. The attention and hard work that has gone into the disability access features really is one of the most special things about this venue.
“This is a special step for disability inclusion and access in this State – where we have succeeded in not just meeting the requirements, but exceeding them.”
Image: Optus Stadium