MCG to Host Landmark Women’s Ashes Test in Celebration of 90-Year Anniversary

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is set to host a historic Women’s Ashes Test match to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the format, marking a significant milestone in women’s cricket history.

Since 1949, Australia has not played a women’s Test match at the MCG. Additionally, they’ll host T20Is versus England at the SCG and Adelaide Oval.

MCG to Host Landmark Women’s Ashes Test in Celebration of 90-Year Anniversary

To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the inaugural women’s Test series, Australia will face England in a four-day pink-ball women’s Ashes Test at the MCG in January. However, there is still disagreement over whether four-day or five-day cricket is still the ideal format for female players.

The multiformat women’s Ashes series will take place in January to conclude a summer at home that featured a T20I series against New Zealand prior to the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in September, and a three-match ODI series against India in December that coincided with the men’s Test tour of Australia by India. Cricket Australia released its schedule for the 2024–25 season on Tuesday.

Following the success of the past two Ashes Tests at North Sydney Oval and Canberra, CA has committed to hosting the women’s Ashes at several prominent locations around the nation. Ninety years will have passed since the inaugural women’s Test series between Australia and England in 1934–35, and the sole Test in the next series will be the first women’s Test to be played at the MCG since 1948–49.

Additionally, it will be the first women’s international game played at the MCG since Australia and India’s 2020 T20 World Cup final. T20Is are also planned for the SCG and Adelaide Oval. Since the 2020 T20 World Cup semi-final, the latter has not hosted a women’s international. WBBL matches were held at the MCG and SCG last summer.

Ellyse Perry, the top all-rounder from Australia, understood the importance of the match.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for the team to play at such an iconic Australian cricket venue and in such a big occasion like an Ashes series,” Perry stated. “I think we all saw that fixture and thought what an amazing opportunity and how much possibility that also carries in terms of what it could do for the game.”

The question of whether women’s Test matches should last four or five days is still up for debate. Australia prevailed in the final Ashes Test, a five-day match played at Trent Bridge.

“My thoughts on that is that we probably need to do some more quantifiable work on what is most effective for the women’s game,” said Perry. “I only have one five-day Test match as a sample size. We were able to obtain a result in that regard. I guess that’s why I lean that way, having participated in several four-day games in which we failed to produce any outcomes.

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MCG to Host Landmark Women's Ashes Test in Celebration of 90-Year Anniversary

Perry was realistic when asked what that quantifiable work should be.
“It looks like we’ll need to play a few more five-day games to determine that. I’m not sure what level that is at, either,” Perry remarked.

With 100 overs per day, the women’s four-day Tests are just 50 overs less overall than the traditional five-day Test with 90 overs per day.
CA’s head of scheduling, Peter Roach, made no bones about the organization’s preference for four-day games.

“There’s continual discussions on the right format for women’s Test cricket, and clearly we don’t have a great bank of recent history to draw upon because the women don’t play as many Tests as the men do,” he stated. “We’re always considering how to make Test cricket better, but we firmly believe that four days is the ideal format.”

We think that the players comprehend the reasoning, and while some may agree with it and some may hold a different opinion, we recognize their perspective. In order to make cricket a game that people love to watch and support, it is our job to try and strike the proper balance in everything we do, as well as to try and get the best results for women’s cricket in this case and for present and future players.”

After the recent win against South Africa, Australia was eager to play further Tests at the WACA field. The chance to commemorate the 90th anniversary of women’s Test cricket at the storied stadium was too much to refuse, although Roach pointed out that the MCG pitch has had comparable pace and bounce in men’s Test cricket in recent years and should be an equally good surface.

Given their ties to former players, Perry claimed that Australia’s current players were fully aware of the historical significance. Australia’s 1973 women’s World Cup team celebrated their fiftieth anniversary last year in Melbourne, where they played the West Indies. Meanwhile, at the 2020 World Cup final, a number of former players and women’s cricket administrators were honored.

“It’s definitely something that as a team we’re really invested in, in terms of firstly recognising and also understanding the history of the game,” Perry stated. “Having everyone present at the Junction Oval for our series against the West Indies was very wonderful. We have strong emotional ties to a few of the players.

I was chosen for my first tour by the first Australian selector, Marg Jennings, who was on the 1973 team. Therefore, I believe that connections like that are crucial to women’s cricket.

“There were so many members of the women’s cricket family there at the 2020 T20 World Cup final who felt very much a part of it too, simply by being there and taking it all in. I am aware that there are already plans in place to carry out those activities, particularly to commemorate the 90 years.”

Women’s Ashes Test

30 January – 2nd February: MCG, Melbourne (D/N)

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