A women's cricket test match will be played over five days for the first time since 1992 in the multi-format Ashes series next year.
Women’s test matches have traditionally been played over four days, as opposed to five in the men’s game. The only previous instance of a five-day test in the women's game was in 1992, when Australia hosted England at North Sydney Oval.
Only six women’s tests have taken place worldwide since 2017, all of them finishing in draws after time ran out.
The decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia to break the longstanding convention comes three months after International Cricket Council chairman Greg Barclay said he wanted women to play five-day tests, while at the same time raising doubts about the long-term future of the format in women’s cricket.
“I’m so happy,” England captain Heather Knight said. “I feel like I’ve been banging the drum for five days for a long time, so it’s a special moment. It feels like the right time, for five days, for bigger grounds, and it feels like it’s been a long time coming.
“I probably spent most of my career being grateful for what you’re given. When I started out anything was a bonus, you were just happy to be playing the sport you love for England and not even getting paid, but my eyes have opened a bit more. You see the inequalities you’ve gone through and and not really realized. Moving forward on an equal footing is a logical progression.”
The test will be at Trent Bridge from June 22-26 in a multi-format Ashes series in 2023 that also includes three Twenty20s and three one-day internationals.
They will run alongside the men's Ashes series, which features five tests at Edgbaston, Lord’s, Headingley, Old Trafford and the Oval in June-July.
The growth of women's cricket in England has been underlined by some huge crowds for games in the Hundred tournament this summer as well as during the Commonwealth Games.
“We have clearly entered another phase in terms of the demand for elite women’s sport," said Clare Connor, the ECB interim chief executive. "We’ve seen record numbers flock to stadia for the second season of the Hundred. Now we want to give more fans the chance to watch England Women in person next summer as they compete for the Ashes on home soil.”
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