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England set for historic Women's Ashes Test at MCG as part of 2025 series in Australia

The day/night match at the MCG will be the first women's Test to be played at the iconic Melbourne venue since 1949; the four-day match will be the conclusion of England's Women's Ashes tour of Australia, which features three ODIs and three T20Is as well

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 17: A General View of the MCG before the Big Bash League cricket match between Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades on January 17, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Brett Keating/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire)
Image: England will play the first women's Test at the MCG since 1949 as part of next year's Ashes tour

England will play the first women’s Test at the MCG since 1949 as part of next year’s Ashes tour in Australia.

The four-day match, which starts on January 30 will be played under floodlights with the pink ball and will mark the 90th anniversary of the first women's Test match, as well as being the first day/night Test to be held at the iconic venue.

It will mark the conclusion of the multi-format series for Heather Knight's side, which begins with a three-match one-day international series on January 12 and sees the teams play three T20Is from January 20.

"What we're looking to do is to really keep pushing to get our women (playing) on the major venues where possible," Cricket Australia's head of cricket operations and scheduling Peter Roach said of the Test at the MCG.

"This is an opportunity against England just to keep that momentum going and challenge ourselves to grow crowds above what the expectations are around the community.

"We know we're going to get great support around this match, and we will expect fans to be really supportive of coming along to that game...and it will hopefully be a fitting conclusion to a tight series."

The 1949 Test match between England and Australia at the MCG was part of a three-match tour and finished in a draw, although the hosts clinched the overall series 1-0 thanks to a 186-run victory in the first Test in Sydney.

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It will be the second time England and their old rivals have faced off in a Test under floodlights as well, having done so at the North Sydney Oval in 2017.

Last year's Test in Nottingham, which saw Australia beat England by 89 runs, was played over five days, but Cricket Australia's preferred option is four days with 100 overs to be bowled per day.

"There are continuing discussions on the right format for women's Test cricket," Roach said. "We were really strongly of the view that four days is the right format and in the very recent past, we have seen Test matches finish in four days.

"We're seeing that fifth day of men's cricket in Australia be not utilised very much."

Australia are the current holders of the Women's Ashes, retaining the title following the 8-8 drawn series in England last year.

All-rounder Ellyse Perry was enthusiastic about the MCG staging the occasion but was more reserved about a return to a four-day contest.

Last year's Ashes Test at Trent Bridge ran for five days for the second time in women's cricket history and justified the extension as Australia prevailed against hosts England on the final day following draws in each of the three previous four-day meetings between the two rivals.

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

"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.

"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.

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

"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."

England's 2025 Women's Ashes tour schedule

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

January 14: Second ODI (Junction Oval, Melbourne)

January 17: Third ODI (Bellerive Oval, Hobart)

January 20: First T20I (SCG, Sydney)

January 23: Second T20I (Manuka Oval, Canberra)

January 25: Third T20I (Adelaide Oval, Adelaide)

January 30- February 2: Day/night Test (MCG, Melbourne)

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