Australia plan extra Twenty20 internationals

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Cricket Australia today announced its 2007-08 home season schedule which includes two Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand in December followed by a February match up against India.

The traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne becomes the first match of the series against India, followed by Sydney (January 2-6), Perth (January 16-20) and Adelaide (Jan 24-28).

The unusual schedule has been caused partly by the inaugural Twenty20 world championship in South Africa in September which has meant Pakistan's tour of India has been put back to November.

"There's no doubt we would have a preference for having the Indian tour earlier than we are, but at the same time it creates opportunities for us to do other things," said Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland in Grenada today.

Australia's two Tests against Sri Lanka are in Brisbane on November 8-12 and Hobart on November 16-20.

Ricky Ponting's side also have a seven-match one-day tour of India scheduled shortly before the home series against Sri Lanka.

Australia will host the annual Chappell-Hadlee Series against New Zealand in Adelaide, Sydney and Hobart on December 14, 16 and 20, preceded by a Twenty20 International against New Zealand in Perth on December 11.

Melbourne fans will get their first Twenty20 international when Australia host India on February 1, meaning Cricket Australia has bowed to the overwhelming public demand and scheduled two 20-over spectaculars next summer after the huge success of the past two years with matches in Brisbane and Sydney.

The tri-series involving India and Sri Lanka starts on February 3 in Brisbane with the best-of-three finals on March 2 (Sydney), 4 (Brisbane) and 7 (Adelaide).

"We think the program has come up really well. The way it looks is fantastic in terms of sharing content around," Sutherland said.

"Six Test matches, the number of one-day games, playing a one-day match in Canberra (Sri Lanka v India on February 12) which I think is the second one ever, so all of those things we think have shaped up really well and provides a great follow-up to what was an unbelievably successful season in 06-07."

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