25 Oct 2008

Absent Test fans set alarm bells ringing

11:42 am on 25 October 2008

Empty seats at last weekend's Test between India and Australia have alarmed cricket's administrators, who were already worried that the runaway success of Twenty20 could spell doom for the classic, five-day game.

The International Cricket Council's chief executive Haroon Lorgat says the first Test at Bangalore drew a great crowd but the lack of spectators at the second Test is a concern.

Organisers in Mohali brought schoolchildren to fill the stands after the second Test began with barely a hundred fans scattered around a ground which had full houses when it hosted Twenty20 games.

The third Test starts next Wednesday in New Delhi, a day after the Hindu festival Diwali, and officials fear fans may stay away again.

They say India's record win at Mohali may reduce intersts in the four-Test series and security fears following a series of blasts in the Indian capital last month could also be a factor.