Canberra Test tickets snapped up as CA eyes sell-out
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Canberra Test tickets snapped up as CA eyes sell-out

Australian cricket's battle to win back the public is on track in Canberra with Tim Paine's side expected to be greeted by a packed house on consecutive days of an historic Test at Manuka Oval.

About 50 per cent of tickets have already been snapped up for days one and two of Australia's series-deciding Test match against Sri Lanka at Manuka Oval beginning on February 1.

Tim Paine's side are winning back the public.

Tim Paine's side are winning back the public.Credit:AAP

Cricket ACT officials were banking on a spike following the return of international cricket to free-to-air television in Australia's Test series against India - so chief executive James Allsopp has one simple message.

"Get in now and get your tickets. There’s only ever going to be one first day of the first Test."

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All Cricket ACT competitions will be put on hold during the Test with Canberra fans being handed a major opportunity to prove the appetite is there for major events at Manuka Oval.

"Canberra has been such a proud producer of cricket talent for years, there has always been an appetite for cricket in Canberra," Allsopp said.

"Talking to Cricket Australia about our ticket sales, they’re really happy with the numbers considering how far the Test is away in cricket terms.

"At the end of the day, the Australian cricket team is all of Australia’s team. We’re unlike any other sport, we’re not dominated by the east or west coast or the southern states.

"Everyone feels some kind of connection to the Australian cricket team, whether they like cricket or not. The way they performed in Adelaide when they fought so hard on the last day, they did make the Australian public proud."

Now another reason for optimism is on the way with one of the best batsmen in the world on a collision course with 'The Big Show' in the Big Bash League in Canberra.

England Joe Root and Jos Buttler.

England Joe Root and Jos Buttler.Credit:Mike Egerton

The Sydney Thunder will open their BBL campaign against the Melbourne Stars under Friday night lights at Manuka Oval on December 21, with Sydney's WBBL side hosting Hobart in the first leg of the double-header.

Perennial underdogs Sydney have lured some of cricket's most exciting players to the club with Joe Root and Jos Buttler filling their overseas spots for the first half of the season.

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The Stars will fight fire with fire - they have captain Glenn Maxwell, Dwayne Bravo and Ben Dunk on their list.

Buttler didn't have to think twice about rejoining the Thunder nation - he laughs having brunch by the sea on game day in Sydney isn't a bad way to live - and he is relishing the chance to link up with Root.

"I didn’t have to sell it to him much, he’s desperate to play some Twenty20 cricket. He’s obviously one of the world’s premier batsmen so it’s a fantastic signing for the club," Buttler said.

"It’ll be great to play alongside him in a different team as well, the two of us playing franchise cricket together will be great fun.

"I’m really excited for Sydney fans to see him in action, he’s obviously one of the best players in the world, he’ll bring a lot to the team. I know he’s very excited about his first taste of franchise cricket.

"We’re desperate to hit the ground running. It’ll be nice to be out in Canberra... hopefully it will be a great atmosphere there against a strong Stars squad. It’s important to get up and running early in the competition.

"This week leading into that game is important to get everyone together and the boys in good form. We’ll look to put in a strong performance against the Stars."

Caden Helmers is a sports reporter for The Canberra Times

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