MCG Test the 'next evolution' for women's game: Perry

Ellyse Perry is rapt to see the Ashes heading to the country's biggest stadiums next summer, but the jury is out on the optimal length for women's Tests

Day-night MCG Test an 'amazing opportunity': Perry

Ellyse Perry is confident the Ashes Test at the MCG can draw significant crowds, saying the move to host the multi-format series in some of the country's largest stadiums is the next logical step for the women's game.

Australia will host England in a day-night Test at the MCG next January, in the first women's Test at the iconic ground since 1948-49.

The SCG, Adelaide, Bellerive and Manuka ovals will also host games during the multi-format series, alongside the CitiPower Centre in Melbourne and North Sydney Oval.

But Perry is not necessarily sold on the MCG fixture being a four-day affair, saying more work needs to be done to determine the optimal length for a women's Test.

The veteran allrounder made her T20I debut at the MCG in 2008, but missed out on a chance to play there in the 2020 T20 World Cup final in front of 86,174 fans when she suffered a serious hamstring injury.

"It's certainly an amazing opportunity for the team to play at such an iconic Australian cricket venue and in such a such a big occasion like an Ashes series," Perry told reporters from Dhaka on Tuesday.

"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.

"I think that's the aspiration for everyone involved, to start to regularly play at the best stadiums around the country and most importantly have really good crowds attend those matches.

"That's the next evolution for women's cricket (and) more globally as well for women's sport, we're starting to see that happen more and more often across the board."

The countdown begins to a massive summer of cricket

The Test will be the first day-nighter played at the MCG, and in conjunction with the MCC and the Victorian government, will be a celebration of the 90th anniversary of the first women's Test.

Perry was reluctant to put any potential crowd goals on the table, but hoped to see a groundswell of support for a landmark event.

"I think it's really cool that there's so much support around this fixture and also a very clear intention to put a lot of time and effort into marketing it to make sure that we've got a really good crowd there, not just for the first day, but for all four days," she said.

"I know that the Victorian government are very much behind it, as are the MCC and Cricket Australia, so with those three organisations backing the Test, there's huge possibilities to have really good crowd for the four days."

The England and Wales Cricket Board hosted a five-day women's Test at Nottingham's iconic Trent Bridge last June, where Australia claimed a famous victory during the first session on day five.

But four-day games, with 100 overs bowled per day, remained the preferred option for Cricket Australia. 

The last three four-day Tests all produced a winner, with India beating England and Australia in back-to-back games last December, and Australia knocking over South Africa inside three days at the WACA Ground last month.

But prior to that, the previous five women's four-day Tests had resulted in draws, due to a combination of poor weather and lifeless pitches.

"We probably need to do some more quantifiable work on what is most effective for the women's game," Perry said.

"I've got a really small sample size of one five-day Test match and we managed to get a result in that, so I suppose my bias skews towards that, having played a number of four-day games where we haven't got results.

"But it's so contextual to the venue that you play at and your opposition as well, and various other conditions.

"Going forward this is going to be a question that keeps popping up until we're able to really ascertain what is most effective for women's Test matches."

Australia claimed a famous Test win on day five at Trent Bridge // Getty

The Test, which is worth four points compared to two for ODIs and T20Is, will be the final leg of the multi-format series.

Australia will have a point to prove after England stormed back into the 2023 Ashes, winning four of the six white-ball games to level the series 8-8.

"We expect a really, really tough challenge," Perry said.

"With the Test match being at the end of the series as well, it could be really important in terms of a team needing to push for a victory to secure the Ashes."

The schedule for Australia's top players will be relentless between September and March – or even from August, for those featuring in The Hundred.

A home T20I series against New Zealand starting mid-September will serve as preparation for the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh starting immediately after.

The tenth edition of the Weber WBBL will begin shortly after the World Cup final, followed by a home ODI series against India, and an away ODI series against New Zealand, both in December.

The Ashes will run from January 12 to February 1, and a T20I tour of New Zealand will round out the season in March, while the third edition of the Women's Premier League in India will potentially fill the gap between those series.

Perry said Australia's depth would serve them well during the packed season, should players become unavailable or need a break.  

"We are continuing to build tremendous depth across our domestic cricket and even within our squad at the moment," Perry said.

"It's probably more around making sure that we've got players that are ready to go whenever an opportunity pops up, be it because of injury or form or perhaps people need a rest or have personal reasons.

"I don't think you can really blanket a policy of rotation and rest, there's so many factors that go into it.

"But I think encouragingly there's so much competition for spots in the group at the moment that things will pop up at different times."

Australia's 2024-25 International women’s schedule

CommBank Women's T20I Series v New Zealand 

First T20I | September 19: Great Barrier Reef Arena, Mackay (N) 


Second T20I | September 22: Great Barrier Reef Arena, Mackay (N) 


Third T20I | September 24: Allan Border Field, Brisbane (N) 

T20 World Cup in Bangladesh 

September-October | Dates TBC 

CommBank Women's ODI Series v India 

First ODI | December 5: Allan Border Field, Brisbane (D/N) 


Second ODI | December 8: Allan Border Field, Brisbane (D) 


Third ODI | December 11: WACA Ground, Perth (D/N) 

Commbank ODI Tour of New Zealand  

December | Dates TBC 

CommBank Women's Ashes Series v England 

First ODI | January 12: North Sydney Oval, Sydney (D) 


Second ODI | January 14: CitiPower Centre, Melbourne (D) 


Third ODI | January 17: Bellerive Oval, Hobart (D) 


First T20I | January 20: SCG, Sydney (N) 


Second T20I | January 23: Manuka Oval, Canberra (N) 


Third T20I | January 25: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (N) 


Day-Night Test | January 30 - February 2: MCG, Melbourne (D/N) 

Commbank T20I Tour of New Zealand  

March | Dates TBC

You'll want the best seat in the house for this season's action! Priority access for tickets opens June 4 – Register now