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Sport Australian players want more women's Test cricket, despite WBBL and T20 popularity

10:15  07 december  2019
10:15  07 december  2019 Source:   msn.com

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The Women ' s Big Bash League ( WBBL ) is the Australian women ' s domestic Twenty20 cricket competition. The WBBL replaced the Australian Women ' s Twenty20 Cup

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BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 06: Melbourne Renegades captain Jess Duffin speaks to the media during the Women's Big Bash League Final media opportunity at Allan Border Field on December 06, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)© Getty BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 06: Melbourne Renegades captain Jess Duffin speaks to the media during the Women's Big Bash League Final media opportunity at Allan Border Field on December 06, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

When Australia faced England in Taunton last July as part of their multi-format Ashes series, it was just the 140th Test in women's cricket history, which dates back to 1934. By comparison, there have been more than 2,000 men's Tests played in that time.

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The Australian women ' s national cricket team represent Australia in international women ' s cricket . They were nicknamed Southern Stars

Despite a boost in focus on women's sport in recent years, Test matches for women are actually becoming more rare these days — with only eight having been played around the world in the past decade, while noughties saw 22 played among a much wider array of nations.

In fact, the last time a women's Test was played outside of an Ashes series was in 2014 when England played India.

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Women ' s Test cricket is the longest format of women ' s cricket and is the female equivalent to men' s Test cricket . Matches comprise four-innings and are held over a maximum of four days between two

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Melbourne Renegades all-rounder Jess Duffin, who has appeared in three Tests for Australia, said there was still a strong desire in the women's ranks to play the longer form of the game.

"I think Test cricket is something that all women players want to play," she said.

"At the end of the day, that's why we're out here playing cricket, we want to play as many Test matches as we can, but just at the moment T20 cricket has taken over."

Duffin played her last Test in 2014 and her most recent appearances for Australia in one-day and Twenty20 internationals came in 2015.

Although she has been removed from the national set-up for some time, she hoped CA would make Tests a priority.

"I'm not really involved in the Australian stuff, so I'm not sure what they're thinking," she said.

"But I certainly know that when I was involved in it that's what they were trying to do.

"They were trying to play as many Test matches as they could and at the end of the day if you ask any international cricketer — whether it's women or men — they want to be playing Tests."

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The England women ' s cricket team toured Australia in October and November 2017 to play the Australia women ' s national cricket team to contest the Women ' s Ashes. The teams played one Test match, three Women ' s One Day Internationals (WODIs) and three Women ' s Twenty20 Internationals

While not being urged to avoid competition, women had few opportunities to compete in sport in Australia until the 1880 s . After that date, new sporting facilities were being built around the country and many new sport clubs were created.

Brisbane Heat captain Kirby Short is another who considers Test matches the most important format of the game.

"Test cricket is obviously what Australian cricketers want to play," Short, who is yet to crack the national side, said.

"I grew up in a household where my grandfather and my father absolutely loved watching Test cricket be played … it's a quality part of our game."

Her great uncle, Neil Harvey, was also the youngest member of Australia's 'Invincibles' Ashes-winning squad in 1948 and posted 21 centuries during his 79-Test career.

Short said the increased profile of women's sport would hopefully act as a catalyst for more Tests.

"I think any growth in the women's game is positive growth," Short said.

"If [WBBL] is the vehicle currently, that's wonderful, and if this is the product that takes our game to families, that's even better. Obviously what growth looks like beyond that … the world's our oyster, I think.

"We're in an extremely positive position in women's sport generally and cricket is one of the leaders in that."

Lanning supports all forms of the game

Australia's most recent Ashes Test ended in a draw, a contest many observers considered to be a dire spectacle.

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For the women ' s format, see Women ' s Test cricket . The Australian Aborigines team became the first organised overseas cricketers to tour England in 1868. Test matches are the highest level of cricket , played between national representative teams with " Test status", as determined by the

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Holding a lead of 145 runs going into the second innings and with an afternoon of play still available in Taunton, Australia captain Meg Lanning opted to grind out the match to ensure retention of the Ashes, rather than chase an outright win.

Lanning, speaking ahead of today's WBBL semi-finals in Brisbane, said she respected the importance of Tests but maintained she enjoyed all forms of the game.

"I go in phases to be honest," said Lanning, whose Perth Scorchers face the Adelaide Strikers in the first semi.

"Obviously Test matches, we don't get to play very often, they're very special.

"But T20 certainly has been the driver for the women's game and it's exciting. The crowds come along, it's always a great atmosphere.

"It's been a very good success. It's nice to have a bit of clear air to showcase the WBBL."

The WBBL semi-finals will take place at Allan Border Field, with the Strikers facing the Scorchers, and the defending champion Brisbane Heat playing the Melbourne Renegades.

The final will be held at the same venue on Sunday.

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Brisbane Heat beat Adelaide Strikers by six wickets in WBBL final at Allan Border Field .
Playing in front of a sold-out home crowd in Brisbane, the Heat show why they are the dominant force in women's domestic T20 cricket with victory over the Strikers in the final.Heat opener Beth Mooney was a stand-out with the bat in front of a sell-out crowd, making an unbeaten 56 from 45 deliveries as the Heat successfully chased down the victory target of 162 with 11 balls to spare.

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