SYDNEY - The delayed test series between Australia and India will start in Adelaide next week, with dates and venues shuffled around in the wake of Phillip Hughes' death.
Dates for all but one of the four tests have been shifted. The series, initially scheduled to start Thursday in Brisbane, will instead open in Adelaide on Dec. 9.
Adelaide was initially due to hold the second test from Dec. 12. Brisbane will host the second test starting Dec. 17 and the third test will start on schedule in the traditional Dec. 26 Boxing Day slot at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The fourth test in Sydney has been pushed back to start on Jan. 6.
Hughes, 25, died last Thursday after being struck on the head or neck behind the left ear by a short-pitch ball during a Sheffield Shield match. The Australian and state team players from South Australia and New South Wales have been in mourning this week, and the funeral is due to be held Wednesday. A full round of Sheffield Shield matches and a two-day tour game between India and a Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide were cancelled, and the first test postponed in the immediate aftermath of Hughes' death.
"Nobody should underestimate just what these players are going through right now," Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said. "These are difficult days and we need to support them in dealing with their grief.
"It's very clear that playing a test right now is just too soon and we are reacting accordingly."
Sutherland said he was grateful to the Indian team and the Australian state cricket boards for accommodating the last-minute changes.
"A concern with these changes has been creating congestion within the cricket calendar by holding four Test matches in 33 days," he said. "We knew that if we started any later than Dec. 9, that congestion would only get worse.
"We looked at possibly holding the Brisbane test in the new year following Sydney but we felt that would only compromise the tri-series against England and India which is important preparation for our ICC Cricket World Cup campaign."
Sutherland said a range of tributes will be prepared for Hughes, who played 26 tests for Australia.
Changes were on the cards when the India team stayed in Adelaide on Monday, rather than travel to Brisbane ahead of the scheduled first test. Stand-in captain Virat Kohli and a number of other Indian players and officials are expected to attend Hughes' funeral in Macksville, on the New South Wales state mid-coast on Wednesday.
"The BCCI has shown great empathy and understanding which we truly appreciate," Sutherland said. "They have put the cricket community's concerns for the Hughes family well ahead of their own preparation."