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Bellerive still on Test radar: Sutherland

AAP logoAAP 13/11/2016 Andrew Drummond

A day-two wash-out at Bellerive Oval will put more clouds of doubt over Hobart's eligibility to host future Tests, but Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland says the southern state will remain in the venue mix.

Rain set in early on Sunday morning and the covers remain on the Bellerive pitch where South Africa finished day one at 5-171 after Australia's dismal 85-run first innings effort.

While no one can control the weather, the drizzle and subsequent lack of play and loss of gate takings, will add to long-term criticism about Hobart's ability to support Test cricket.

But Sutherland offered some reassuring words.

"This a Test venue and we want to continue to play Test cricket down here," he told ABC Radio on Sunday.

"A little bit of it will depend on how things evolve with the structure of international cricket.

"It might be that we reduce the total number of Test matches to an average of five per summer but we're still intent on sharing content around the country and matching it up according to who we play."

A crowd of 7929 showed up at Bellerive on day one with Sutherland admitting forecast rain across days two and three had impacted ticket sales.

"A tier-one Test opponent down here has been something that they've longed for," he said.

"(But) when that long-range forecast came out for the week, ticket sales which were going very well, dropped off the edge of a cliff."

Cricket Australia had hoped to attract a crowd of 25,000 across the five-day fixture after about 18,000 tickets were sold ahead of play.

Last December, Australia hosted the West Indies at Bellerive Oval for a Test that lasted just three days and boasted a best-crowd figure of less than 6000, sparking calls for the southern capital to be ruled out as a future venue.

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