Mooney receives wise words from Hussey before WACA Test

Australia left-hander Beth Mooney has taken advice from Mike Hussey in an attempt to carry over her white-ball form into the Test format

Beth Mooney has frequently been dubbed ‘Mrs Consistency’ for her remarkable feats in white-ball cricket.

But as she prepares to play a Test match at her adopted home at the WACA Ground for the first time, Mooney turned to ‘Mr Cricket’ to gain an extra edge.

The left-hander is set to open the batting alongside Phoebe Litchfield when the first ever Test between Australia and South Africa gets underway at the WACA on Thursday.

Mooney, the world’s No.1 T20I batter and third-ranked ODI batter, is no stranger to the iconic ground after four years with the Perth Scorchers and two with Western Australia.

But she has never played a red-ball game at the venue, so when Mike Hussey turned up to Australia’s first training session on Tuesday morning, Mooney was quick to tap into his vast experience.

"It was just awesome to have him down and pick his brains about batting at the WACA – he spent a lot of time here playing for WA and Test matches for Australia," Mooney said in Perth on Tuesday.

"He just said it’s going to be pretty tough early as an opener and to not get too frustrated with that … he had some great insights into opening here and facing the red ball when it’s a bit hard and might be seaming around, so hopefully I can channel my inner Mike Hussey on Thursday and score some runs."

The Test against the Proteas will be Mooney’s seventh since her debut at North Sydney Oval in 2017.

From 11 innings she has a high score of 85, and has three half-centuries to her name, but her average of 34 is below the impressive 53 she averages in ODIs and 41 in T20Is.

Her most recent Test outing in Mumbai in December yielded scores of 40 and 33, but Mooney is coming into this game in red-hot white-ball form, having hit 72no, 13, 82, 52no, 0 and 82no in the six matches against the Proteas so far on this multi-format tour.

"I think you can never get too ahead of yourself with the bat, it's a pretty fickle game whether you're playing T20 or Test cricket," Mooney said.

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"I don't like to get too ahead of myself (but) if I feel like my game's in order come Thursday, then hopefully I can contribute to some success for the team across that four days.

"Certainly I'm happy with my contribution so far, but there's one game to go and it's a really important game for us."

This will be the first women’s Test at the WACA Ground since 2014, and the first Test since Australia’s men played England during the 2017 Ashes.

Mooney said on Tuesday the pitch remained a bit of an unknown, with recent scorching temperatures in Perth – which are set to continue throughout the Test – likely to impact the conditions.

"It's going to be pretty hot during the Test and we're assuming the groundies will probably have to put a little bit of moisture in the wicket, so we're a bit unsure what it's going to look like on day one," she said.

"Traditionally this year it has been a pretty tough wicket to bat on.

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"But I think we've got the bowling attack to take 20 wickets.

"We've got great spinners in our line-up if it does turn and great options with pace bowling as well."

Mooney’s image was added to the WA Cricket’s ‘Test Player Walk’ – which recognises every WA player to have played Test cricket – at the WACA Ground on Tuesday morning.

The 30-year-old signed with the Scorchers in 2020 then made the switch in state allegiances from Queensland to Western Australia in 2022.

"I was fortunate to debut for Queensland as a 16-year-old but I'd spent a really long time in that program and that environment," she said.

"It's been a breath of fresh air playing for the Scorchers and WA and it's probably breathed a bit of life back into my career, to be honest, I'm enjoying it a lot more and I feel like I can still get better in this program as well."

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