The lowdown on Perth’s Optus Stadium, venue for the second India vs Australia Test
Optus Stadium is the third-largest in Australia after the MCG and Stadium Australia. © AFP

The Optus Stadium in Perth makes its Test debut this Friday when hosts Australia meet India for the second match of the series, and the nature of the surface at the swanky venue has had people talking.

A multi-purpose stadium, which is now the home of cricket in Perth  after the Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) cricket stadium across the Swan River ended its  47-year association with top-level cricket in 2016.

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Will Perth’s Optus Stadium recall the WACA’s heyday and genuinely test the batsmen?

Lets address the talking points:

What’s the pitch like?

New curator Brett Sipthorpe last week warned that the second Test may not last five days, predicting that the captain that wins the toss will opt to bowl on a green and bouncy drop-in pitch. The surface chosen for this match is the No 3 strip, which was the original prototype drop-in pitch used for the first international match played held here in in January.

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During a recent Sheffield Shield match between Western Australia and New South Wales, the ball swung prodigiously for the first two days. Western Australia quick Jhye Richardson claimed eight wickets on the opening day against NSW, and Nathan Lyon claimed figures of 3/34 and 4/86 and enjoyed the bounce on offer – going on to state that he was keen to get back and play a Test there.

Western Australia's Jhye Richardson last month took eight wickets in a day at Optus Stadium.
Western Australia’s Jhye Richardson last month took eight wickets in a day at Optus Stadium. © Getty Images

Has pace dominated there?

Yes. Of the 54 wickets to fall at Optus Stadium across formats, 43 have been taken by fast bowlers.

How many international matches have been played there?

Two. The first was an ODI between Australia and England in January, which the tourists won by 12 runs after being bowled out for 259 in 47.4 overs. Two pace bowlers – Andrew Tye and Tom Curran – claimed five wickets each in that match. The second was an ODI in November, in which South Africa bowled out Australia for 152 in 38.1 overs and won by six wickets with 124 deliveries remaining.

The pace and bounce on display in that ODI was visible, with Dale Steyn and Lungi Ngidi rattling Australia’s batsmen.

And domestic matches?

Since 2018, the Big Bash League franchise Perth Scorchers has made Optus Stadium its home after relocating from the WACA. During the ongoing Sheffield Shield season, one first-class matches was played there.

Has it held any other sports?

It used primarily used fro Australian rules football and cricket. Both of Perth’s AFL teams – the Fremantle Football Club and the West Coast Eagles – play here. Optus Stadium hosted a friendly football match between the local A-League team, Perth Glory, and Chelsea in July which the home team won 1-0.

David Luiz and Cesc Fabregas take a selfie at Optus Stadium during Chelsea's visit in July
David Luiz and Cesc Fabregas take a selfie at Optus Stadium during Chelsea’s visit in July. © AFP

How many fans can it hold?

The stadium, designed by Hassell, Cox Architecture, and HKS Sport and Entertainment, seats 60,000 which is the third-largest in Australia after the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Stadium Australia.

How much did it cost to build?

Estimated costs are at (AU) $1.8 billion.

Any other notable mentions?

Optus Stadium was in November named Project of the Year at The Stadium Business awards in London, ending out the likes of Kuala Lumpur Sports City, Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Louis Armstrong Arena in New York, Audi Field in Washington DC and SunTrust Park in Atlanta.