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Cricket: Bomb-hit Hyderabad to host Australia Test


Hyderabad will host the second Test match between India and Australia as scheduled next week despite twin bombings in the city that killed 14 and wounded dozens, officials said on Friday.

Rajeev Shukla, spokesman for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said government officials had given assurances about security in the wake of Thursday night's deadly attacks.

"I spoke to the (federal) home secretary, who was in Hyderabad, and had discussion with the chief minister and officials of the state government," Shukla, himself a federal minister, told reporters outside parliament.

"They apprised me that adequate security will be provided to the players as well as the spectators. So the Test should not be shifted out of Hyderabad."

Hyderabad is the capital of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where the Test is scheduled to begin at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium on March 2.

Cricket Australia (CA) officials, who are attending the ongoing first Test in Chennai, will be briefed about the assurances from the government, Shukla added.

CA chief executive James Sutherland had earlier said in a statement from Chennai that he expected the Hyderabad Test to go ahead as scheduled.

"At this stage there is no reason to doubt that what we have planned in Hyderabad next week will go ahead," Sutherland said.

"My expectation would be everything would go ahead as planned. The team were very comfortable (with security), everything has gone absolutely to plan.

"We will liaise with the relevant authorities over the course of next few days and make any necessary assessments, but the focus right now in Chennai is around the cricket," Sutherland said.

Security has been beefed up at the Chennai hotel where the teams are staying for the first of four Tests, and also at the stadium where fans were frisked before they were allowed to enter.

Australia had pulled out of a tour to Pakistan in 2008 over security concerns after a series of bombings. They also refused to play any matches in the 1996 World Cup in Sri Lanka after bombings there.

Australia condemned the Hyderabad bombings "directed at innocent people, going about their daily business".

Australian foreign Minister Bob Carr said he was writing to his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid to express support for India's efforts to prevent terrorist attacks.

His department also warned Australians following the tour in India that terror attacks could happen anywhere.

"We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in India at this time because of the risk of terrorism, civil unrest, crime and vehicle accidents," it said.

"Terrorist attacks could occur anywhere at any time in India with little or no warning. Possible targets include public places in New Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities, and Indian security and political interests."

The last two Tests are to be played in Mohali and New Delhi.