WACA Ashes Test still a possiblity

Cricket Australia say venue for Perth Test will be finalised in coming weeks; still hopeful for new Perth Stadium

Cricket Australia remain hopeful of hosting this year's Perth Ashes Test at the brand new 60,000-seat Perth Stadium, but fans could get one last taste of Ashes cricket at the famous old WACA Ground if the new venue isn't ready in time.

The venue for the third Test of the Ashes this coming summer is yet to be finalised with cricket officials still wanting the match to be the first major sporting event at the multi-purpose stadium in Burswood, located just a kilometre across the Swan River from the WACA Ground.

But if it's determined the new venue won't be ready by December 14, the Aussies will unleash their fearsome pace attack on England's batsmen at the traditionally fast and bouncy WACA Ground.

Mitchell Starc steams in a the WACA Ground last summer // Getty
Mitchell Starc steams in a the WACA Ground last summer // Getty

A report in the Weekend West today suggests the new stadium won't be ready in time to host the Ashes Test, and the one-day international between Australia and England on January 28 was far more likely to be the first major sporting event at the new venue.

But Cricket Australia say final a decision is yet to be made.

"We are working closely with the WA Government and Perth Stadium to fully understand the stadium’s readiness and ability to host an Ashes Test as the first major sporting event in December this year, which has always been cricket’s preference," a CA spokesperson said.

"We expect to reach a decision on this in the next month or so.

"Should the stadium be unable to host the Test in time, we will use the WACA Ground to host the Ashes Test, but our preference is to host this Ashes Test at Perth Stadium."

While tickets for the international summer of cricket go on sale to Australian Cricket Family members this week and the general public on May 8, tickets won't be available for any international matches in Perth until the ground situation is finalised. The venues for Perth Scorchers home matches in the KFC Big Bash League are also yet to be locked in.

Should the match be played at the WACA, it would be a further boost to the prospect of Australia unleashing a four-man pace attack during the Ashes.

The thought of speedsters Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson all steaming on a bouncy WACA surface - which showed signs last summer of returning to its former glory as a pace-bowling haven - would be enough to send shivers through the England camp.

Proteas paceman Kagiso Rabada found conditions to his liking in Perth last summer // Getty
Kagiso Rabada found conditions to his liking in Perth last summer // Getty

"It's really exciting ... for the rest of the summer if we can stay fit and keep playing cricket," Starc told on Friday.

"If there's a stage when we can unleash the four of us in the same game (in the Champions Trophy in June) and then looking forward to the Ashes, if the same can happen there with four steaming quicks and Nathan Lyon being the spinner, it'd be really exciting."

Quick Single: Starc returns to the bowling crease after injury

WA cricket officials are determined to replicate the fast and bouncy WACA Ground surfaces at the new stadium and five drop-in pitches were transferred from Gloucester Park to the new venue last week.

"We're really happy with what we've seen so far from these wickets and the further maturation time will only benefit them," WA cricket's head curator Matthew Page said earlier this month.

Quick Single: Perth Stadium gets new pitches

"There will be some learning experiences from moving the wickets to Perth Stadium, but we are excited by this next phase.

"While geographically only about a kilometre apart, there will be significant micro-climate differences that will need to be managed and the WACA turf team will be on site daily at Perth Stadium to observe and test how the wickets adapt."

When completed, the new Perth Stadium will host all international matches involving England, South Africa and India, as well as all Perth Scorchers matches in the KFC Big Bash.

Ashes ticket sales key dates

May 1: Tickets on sale to ACF Gold members

May 3: Tickets on sale to all ACF members

May 8: Tickets on sale to the general public

Click here to join the Australian Cricket Family. FAQs about the ACF can be found here

2017-18 International Fixtures:

Men's Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test Perth TBC, December 14-18

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21

Tickets on sale May 8