It will be "a first" when Australia host South Africa in a crucial Test match at the WACA Ground
All you need to know: Australia v South Africa WACA Test
History will be made at the WACA Ground as Australia and South Africa meet for the first time in a women’s Test.
Who: Australia v South Africa
What: A one-off Test match
When: 15 February – 18 February 2024
Where: WACA Ground, Perth
Officials: Claire Polosak, Eloise Sheridan (standing), Mike Graham-Smith (third), Lisa McCabe (fourth), David Gilbert (match referee)
How to watch or listen in Australia: Channel Seven, Fox Cricket, Kayo Sports and ABC Radio
Live scores: Match Centre
Highlights, news and reactions after the match: cricket.com.au, the CA Live app, the Scoop Podcast
Session times: First session: 11am-1pm (2pm-4pm AEDT) | Second session: 1.40pm-3.40pm (4.40pm-6.40pm) | Third session: 4pm-6pm (7pm-9pm)
Australia: Alyssa Healy (c), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham
South Africa: Laura Wolvaardt, Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Mieke de Ridder, Ayanda Hlubi, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Masabata Klaas, Suné Luus, Eliz-Mari Marx, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Chloé Tryon, Delmi Tucker
Sophie Molineux has been named in an Australia squad for the first time since 2021, with the spin-bowling allrounder the only addition to the 14-player squad from the three-game ODI leg of the multi-format series. She is a chance to play her first international game since the third T20I against India in October 2021 if selected in the final XI.
The left-arm spinner is also the only change to the Test squad that played India in Mumbai in December.
Lauren Cheatle, who made her Test debut at Wankhede, was ruled out of the Perth Test as well as the Women’s Premier League in India after the desperately unlucky left-arm quick had a skin cancer removed from her neck late last month, while Heather Graham has been omitted.
Australia have some tough calls to make at the selection table; Darcie Brown seems the frontrunner to replace Cheatle in the XI, while the hosts have five spinners to choose from. Ashleigh Gardner would be one of the first players picked, and incumbent spinner Alana King has the home ground advantage, which means the biggest call could be between Molineux and fellow left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen.
South Africa also only have one change to their white-ball squads, following the departure of quick Ayabonga Khaka, who opted out of the red-ball leg.
There are six potential Test debutants in the SA squad: Eliz-Mari Marx, Ayanda Hlubi, Meike De Ridder, Delmi Tucker, Masabata Klaas and Tazmin Brits.
It seems likely Tazmin Brits would continue in her position at the top of the order alongside Wolvaardt, and fast bowler Klaas seems sure to debut after impressing throughout the white-ball legs. Rookie quicks Marx and Hlubi, who came into the XI for South Africa’s history-making win in the second one-dayer, also put their hands up for selection and at least one should play, with the other spot likely to be a choice between a pace bowler or left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba, who was dropped after the first ODI.
The multi-format scenario
Australia hold a 8-4 lead in the multi-format series. A win in the Test is worth four points, so South Africa cannot win the series outright, but can level it at eight points apiece with victory at the WACA Ground. A drawn Test would see the points split, meaning Australia would win 10-6, and a win for the Aussies would see them take the trophy 12-4.
This will be the first ever women’s Test between Australia and South Africa. The Proteas will be the fifth team Australia have played in Tests, and it is the first time since 1977 that they will play a new opponent in the format. South Africa join England (first Test 1934), New Zealand (1948), West Indies (1976) and India (1977) as teams to have played Australia in Tests.
The last women’s Test at the WACA was back in 2014, when England defeated Australia by 61 runs.
Ellyse Perry was the only current Australian player to feature in that game – although Megan Schutt was part of the squad – and it was a breakout match for the then 23-year-old allrounder.
She took 3-41 as England were bowled out for 201 in their first innings, before top-scoring for the hosts batting at No.7, scoring 71 as they were dismissed for 207.
Perry then picked up her first Test five-fa, taking 5-38 to help bowl the tourists out for 190, and while Australia fell short in their fourth-innings chase, Perry again top-scored with 31 as they were rolled for 123.
Beth Mooney and Alana King have yet to play at Test at the WACA but they call it home in domestic white-ball cricket, playing for Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers.
Proteas allrounder Marizanne Kapp is also very familiar with the ground, after spending two seasons with the Scorchers, while the South Africa will have fond memories of their last visit to the ground in early 2020, when they upset England in a T20 World Cup group match.
If you’re heading to the WACA Ground, don’t forget to bring your sunscreen and a hat! A scorching top of 42 degrees Celsius is forecast for day one on Thursday, before there will be a little relief with just 30 predicted for day two. A hot weekend will follow with tops of 36 and 40 tipped for Saturday and Sunday.
Women’s Tests remain a rarity but Australia are in the unusual position of having played two Tests in the last eight months. They secured a memorable fifth-day 89-run win over England at Trent Bridge last June, before suffering an eight-wicket defeat to India in unfamiliar conditions at Wankhede in December.
South Africa’s last Test was in June 2022, when they played out a rain-affected draw against England in Taunton – and before that, they had not played one since 2014.
Kapp was the standout in Taunton, scoring 150 in South Africa’s first innings when the next highest score was Anneke Bosch’s 30, while she was unbeaten on 43 when the captains shook hands on day four.
Women's CommBank T20I Series v South Africa
First T20: Australia won by eight wickets
Second T20: South Africa won by six wickets
Third T20: Australia win by five wickets
Women's CommBank ODI Series v South Africa
First ODI: Australia won by eight wickets
February 7: South Africa won by 84 runs
February 10: Australia won by 110 runs (DLS method)
Women's CommBank Test Match v South Africa
February 15-18: Only Test, WACA Ground, Perth 11.00am
Australia Test squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham
South Africa Test squad: Laura Wolvaardt, Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Mieke de Ridder, Ayanda Hlubi, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Masabata Klaas, Suné Luus, Eliz-Mari Marx, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Chloé Tryon, Delmi Tucker