If and when South Africa tour Australia beyond 2018, they won’t be playing at the famous old WACA Ground, but at the new Perth Stadium.
Under radical plans, the home of Australia cricket will open its doors to Aussie Rules.
In releasing its Vision 2030 blueprint, the WACA announced a strategy that will see Test matches against tier one countries – currently South Africa, England and India – plus One Day Internationals and Big Bash games, played at the new Burswood venue from the 2018-19 summer.
The WACA Ground has been scene to some of South Africa’s finest moments; most recently the 309-run win which gave the Proteas the series 1-0 in November 2012. That was the Test in which Dale Steyn (7-102), Vernon Philander (4-96) and Robin Petersen (6-171) crushed the life out of the Aussies as Hashim Amla scored 196 along with AB de Villiers’ 169.
It was also the venue for South Africa’s magnificent chase to a target of 414, which they achieved with six wickets to spare after Graeme Smith (108) and AB de Villiers (106 not out) broke the back of the innings. The Aussies must have fancied their chances after Mitchell Johnson took 8-60 to leave the Proteas 94 runs behind on the first innings.
Back in 2005, the Proteas did well to hold on for a draw after the Aussies scored 528-8 dec in their second innings.
Under the new plan, the WACA Ground is also set to be redeveloped into a boutique stadium with a capacity of 15 000 people and will include a cricket high performance training facility.
It is also the reason that Dennis Lillee quit the WACA presidency this week. He told The West Australian: ‘I cannot stand by and watch what is happening at the WACA. I do not wish to be part of it any longer.’
At the time Lillee’s departure was seen as curious, given the WACA was widely expected to keep Test cricket and transfer other matches to the new stadium.