The compelling case to extend women’s Tests to five days

By , Scott Bailey is a Roar Guru

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    Australia captain Rachael Haynes has called for women’s Tests to be extended to five days as players aim to add more long-form cricket to the calendar.

    This weekend’s pink-ball Test attracted a record Australian crowd of 12,674 across the four days, but was just the ninth women’s Test played in the past decade.

    And despite the hype and excitement of Ellyse Perry’s Australian record score of 213 not out, it ended in an all-too-predictable draw as 21 wickets fell.

    Four-day Tests have been the norm in women’s cricket since the 1970s, when they were extended from three days, with no matches ever having played over the traditional five the men enjoy.

    It’s shown in results too.

    The draw marked the 88th in the 139 Test history of women’s cricket, equating to 63 per cent ending with no result.

    And while an extra 10 overs are bowled per day on the men’s game, Haynes said bringing the women into line with their five-day regulations would go a long way to creating more results.

    “Despite the fact that the wicket was flat, my feeling is we would have got a result in this match if there was a fifth day,” Haynes said. “So my feeling is it would have been nice to extend it.”

    North Sydney’s dead and abrasive pitch also did little to help the situation, as the pink ball scuffed quickly and combined with the surface to offer little to the bowlers.

    Players also admitted during the match they found it tough adapting to long-form cricket.

    No unlimited overs cricket is played at women’s domestic or even grade level in Australia, meaning the only time the females don the whites is in the biennial Ashes Test.

    Coaches from both sides are in agreement that skills will increase with more Tests being played and Haynes said the Ashes multi-formatted points system, which includes Twenty20s, one-dayers and a Test, should also be used against other teams.

    “In terms of format of series, this is one of the best series to be part of because it is a test of your skills across all the disciplines,” she said.

    “From my point of view and I think from the team’s point of view, we would love the format of this series to be continued against other nations.”

    Meanwhile England captain Heather Knight hoped officials at home would include first-class matches as part of the female county system in coming years.

    “As players we absolutely love it – it’s the pinnacle for us and we don’t get to play it very often,” Knight said.

    “I think if some form of domestic multi-innings cricket was introduced in some format, I think it would raise the skill level a lot and raise the basic skills for one-day cricket as well.”

    © AAP 2017