If you are looking to combine a Test Match with a beach holiday (at the same time) in India then Chennai is the place. Luckily, on an Australian Cricket Tour To India, you are more likely to play in Chennai than Vishakhapatnam, the only other Indian city where you can combine Test Cricket with sandcastles. Yet, as popular as Marina Beach is, it is not a good place to swim nor even get your feet wet.
The beach behind the cricket landmark that is M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, which holds many unique test cricket world records, is 500m wide! By the time you get your toes cooled in the soupy Bay of Bengal and walk back to Marine Drive, you'll need another walk to the water to cool off. It is just as well we have a super-cool roof-top pool in which to chill-out with an icy Kingfisher Lager post-game at perennially hot Chidambaram Stadium, 2.2km from the hotel.
Though always scorchingly hot, we'll sit shaded all day in Anna Pavilion, pending ticket availability. No matter where we do our best to enjoy the game, your support needs to be strong as Australia's Test Cricket record at Chidambaram is abhorrent. Last winning in 1969, Australia has since been on the receiving end of cricketing humiliation. With the exception of a desperate 2 wicket loss in 2001, we've not come close to victory. Perhaps it is good that play ends at 4.30pm and the hotel bar is nearby!
You can either take an early morning walk to the game, knowing the game starts at 9.30 am, a swift auto-rickshaw, or use a ride-sharing app to get to or from the ground. Because of the nippy independent travel choices and legendary traffic snarls, it is easier to make your own way to and from the game, something you don't have to do when you fly in.
Our driver will meet you at Chennai International Airport and whizz you to our lush hotel in a quiet backstreet just off 'Anna Salai', in Triplicane for 8 nights and 2 classic rooftop dinner parties. Triplicane High Road, near the stadium, is a frenetic artery of culture and commerce, and worth a walk down after play one day, a far cry from where we live.
Glitzy shopping malls & flashy hotels sit juxtaposed with classic Indian street bazaars along Anna Salai that cuts an 8km diagonal through Chennai from Fort St George to Panagal Park. With time up the sleeve before or after the Test, visit Fort St George, being sure to see the spectacular Ripon Building, home to 'Greater Chennai Corporation'. The Ripon is next to Chennai Central Station, so depending on when or whether you arrive or depart by train, you can see this landmark while you are there.
If the game ends early, although there is a mountain of places to see under your own vested interests, like all other cities in India we may organise an optional 'group day trip', payable at the time. In years past we've visited the Monuments at Mahabalipuram, 90km south, stopping at Santhome Cathedral, at the southern end of Marina Beach, where rests the 12th Apostle, Thomas. It is impossible to know yet where we will go but trust it will be an experience as good as your time with us in M. A. Chidambaram Stadium, cricket's 27th Test Venue!