South African pace queen Marizanne Kapp hopes the pink ball will liven up the typically flat Manuka Oval surface when she takes on the Australian Test squad in a three-day warm-up game in Canberra from Friday.
Kapp has been named in the ACT XI to play the Aussies in the pink-ball practice game and her exceptional pace and swing means she’ll be a key cog in their bowling attack.
Kapp has yet to play any cricket with the pink ball, meaning this weekend’s game will be unchartered territory for the 27-year-old, but that hasn’t stopped the Proteas star from issuing a typically blunt assessment of what she’s seen of the new ball in training to date.
"This will be the first time I’ve played pink-ball cricket, I’ve had a bowl in the nets and I wasn’t too impressed,” she said.
"The ball got soft really quickly and I’m not looking forward to bowling on the weekend but I am up for the challenge."
Kapp, the world’s No.1 ranked ODI international bowler, is currently living in Canberra and playing for the ACT in the Women’s National Cricket League alongside South Africa teammate Dane van Niekerk.
One potential upside for Kapp of playing with the pink match is the likelihood of some extra grass on the Manuka Oval wicket, a surface she admits she finds extremely frustrating to bowl on.
"This is not my favourite ground, I absolutely hate bowling here," Kapp said.
"Batting is a lot easier on this wicket so hopefully they give us a greener wicket on the weekend and something happens in the evenings."
Despite her misgivings with the pink ball and the wicket, Kapp is excited for a competitive contest on the weekend against Australia.
The game will be the final hit-out for Australia before the historic day-night Test in Sydney next week.
A win in the Test will see Australia retain the Ashes, which are played across all three formats and decided by a points system. The hosts hold a 4-2 advantage following the ODI component of the series and with four points on offer for the four-day Test, they can ensure the trophy remains on home soil.
"I think Australia is a really good team and they’ll take this seriously,” Kapp said.
"It’s good prep for them as well, they’re a solid team with some really good batters. We’re looking forward to go out there and play our natural game."
Following the hit-out this weekend Kapp and her team mates will turn their focus back to the WNCL, with the next round of the domestic 50-over tournament to be played in late November.
The ACT Meteors have found form early this season and are currently sitting second on the ladder, Kapp is hoping to take the team through to the final for the first time in the competition’s 22-year history.
“We’re taking the game this weekend seriously, but our focus is still the group of games left in the WNCL,” Kapp said.
“This will be a good challenge and being here in Canberra has been a good experience, I hope that I can help get the team to the finals this year.”
Cricket Australia XI: Sarah Aley, Nicola Carey, Piepa Cleary, Heather Graham, Delissa Kimmince, Alana King, Sophie Molineux, Georgia Redmayne, Lauren Smith, Naomi Stalenberg, Molly Strano
ACT Invitational XI: Samantha Bates, Nicole Goodwin, Hayley Jensen, Jess Jonassen*, Marizanne Kapp, Erica Kershaw, Claire Koski, Katie Mack, Tahlia McGrath*, Erin Osborne (C), Angela Reakes, Belinda Vakarewa*, Dane Van Niekerk
*Australian squad member representing ACT Invitational XI
Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes
Australia lead England 4-2
Australia squad (ODI and Test): Rachael Haynes (C), Alex Blackwell (VC), Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa (Test only), Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.
England squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Nat Sciver, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt.
First ODI Australia won by two wickets
Second ODI Australia won by 75 runs (DLS method)
Third ODI England won by 20 runs (DLS method)
Day-Night Test North Sydney Oval, November 9-12
First T20 North Sydney Oval, November 17
North Sydney Charity Partner: McGrath Foundation
Second T20 Manuka Oval, November 19
Third T20 Manuka Oval, November 21
Canberra Charity Partner: Lord's Taverners ACT