Perth will host the fifth and final Ashes Test, confirming a long-rumoured shakeup of the traditional schedule as Cricket Australia revealed the men’s and women’s cricket fixtures for the upcoming summer.
The men’s T20 world cup in October, as well as likely quarantine-induced delays, means the first Ashes Test – at The Gabba – won’t get underway until Wednesday, December 8. That made it impossible to fit another two Tests between then and the traditional Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
That means Melbourne will instead be hosting the third Test of the Ashes and the New Year’s Test in Sydney will be the fourth. Perth’s Optus Stadium will host the fifth Test, beginning on Friday, January 14. The second Test, in Adelaide, will be a day-night fixture.
The last time Sydney didn’t host the fifth Test was the 1994-95 Ashes series, where Australia recovered from being dismissed for 116 in the first innings to secure a memorable draw and retain the urn in the third Test. That series was also the last time Perth hosted the last Test.
While The Ashes were always going to be the focal point of today’s announcement, Cricket Australia also revealed a host of other important fixtures. Australia will host Afghanistan in a Test for the first time, being played from Saturday, November 27 in Hobart.
The Women’s Ashes, also being hosted in Australia this summer, will be held largely in their own window. The only Test of the series will be played at Canberra’s Manuka Oval from Thursday, January 27, with no men’s matches being played simultaneously until the last day.
The series also comprises three T20s and three ODIs, with five of those matches being played on days the men’s team isn’t also in action.
Just under two weeks after the Ashes wraps up, the men’s side will kick back into action with a three-match ODI series against New Zealand in Perth, Hobart and Sydney, before playing a one-off T20 in Canberra.
The summer then wraps up with a five-match T20 series against Sri Lanka.