Cricket Australia has agreed a new three-year deal for the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to continue hosting international and domestic cricket until at least 2022.

The three-year contract was confirmed after Cricket Australia announced its international schedule for this summer, with the MCG to host the second of a four-match Test Series against India from December 26-30.

The MCG’s new deal with Cricket Australia ensures the 100,000-seat stadium will retain hosting rights to the showpiece Boxing Day Test until at least 2022. Australia is scheduled to host England in 2021 and South Africa in 2022.

The MCG staged its first Boxing Day Test back in 1950. Since 1980, there has only been one year which has not featured a post-Christmas Test match at the stadium and that was 1989, when a one-day international was played instead.

It is hoped that as many as 25,000 fans will be able to attend this year’s Boxing Day Test, which would represent a quarter of the MCG’s capacity. Specific crowd numbers will be confirmed closer to the match, with Cricket Australia to work with the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) and the Victorian government on developing a COVID-safe plan to allow fans to attend the Test.

Cricket Australia chair Earl Eddings said: “Come Boxing Day, it will be 291 days since the MCG last hosted crowds for Australia’s win in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Final on March 8, so we can’t wait for Victoria to host another iconic match at the MCG on Boxing Day.”

Martin Pakula, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events in Victoria, added: “Melbourne is Australia’s unchallenged sporting and events capital and the Boxing Day Test is one of the cornerstones of our renowned annual calendar.

“This has been a tough year and it will be just reward for many to have the opportunity to watch the Aussies take on India at our cathedral of sport. And to have the fixture locked in until 2022 is fantastic.”

Australia’s Test series against India will begin at the Adelaide Oval from December 17-21 before the MCG plays host from December 26-30. The third and fourth Tests will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground from January 7-11 and The Gabba in Brisbane from January 15-19.

India’s tour of Australia will also include a one-day international series and a Twenty20 series before the Test series begins in December.

Image: Rajiv Bhuttan/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size