England's Joe Root and Australia's Tim Paine with the Ashes urn. Photo- Getty
England's Joe Root and Australia's Tim Paine with the Ashes urn. Photo- Getty

The Boxing Day Test during The Ashes 2021-22 – which is the third Test of the series – could see over 100,000 fans inside the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the Victorian government announced that all Covid crowd restrictions will be lifted on Thursday following the state reaching its vaccination targets.

Australia are set to host England for an enthralling 5-Test series starting December 8 in Brisbane.

While previously the state government had said that crowds of up to 80,000 would be allowed on Boxing Day, now with Victoria’s vaccination rates reaching about 90%, they removed all the restrictions for crowd numbers at the iconic stadium.

Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne Cricket Ground. (Credits: Twitter)

“There are no more caps, there are no more quotients, no more rules in terms of how many people can be in different spaces,” Andrews said in Melbourne on Thursday.

“Whether it’s 100,000 at the MCG on Boxing Day or a smaller group standing up at the public bar of their local pub having a beer, this is the COVID normal that every Victorian has built.”

People will need to be fully vaccinated in order to gain entry into the MCG for the Test match.

Future of Perth Test still uncertain

While the Ashes 2021-22 is set to commence with the first Test at the Gabba, there is still uncertainty around the fifth Test to be hosted in Perth.

Western Australia’s border remains closed to NSW and Victoria and to internationals due to WA’s slower vaccination rates. The WA government has asserted its intention to host the Perth Test but discussions are still ongoing between WA Health, WA Police and Cricket Australia.

However, Nick Hockley, CA’s chief executive, is confident that the fifth Test was still on track to be played in Perth, but also admitted that “there’s a huge amount of work” to be done.

Ben Stokes, The Ashes 2021-22
Ben Stokes returns to cricket with the Ashes 2021-22. (Image Credit: Twitter)

“There’s still a fair amount of detail to be worked through. We’re doing that as the moment as a priority,” Hockley told 3AW on Wednesday.

“The arrangements that will be put in place, they are very complicated, there’s a huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes.

“We’re not quite there yet in finalising all the plans but certainly making a huge amount of progress. Certainly, we’re working towards it happening,” he said.

Both the squads have been announced with Ben Stokes’ return to cricket being the major headline.

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