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Proteas Women expect great challenge in WACA Test

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It’s the turn of the Proteas Women’s side to forge their own legacy at the storied venue in the one-off Test against the Aussies starting this week.

South Africa’s Nadine De Klerk is ready to take on Australia in their one-off Test in Perth. Picture: Graham Hunt, ProSports, Shutterstock, via BackpagePix (13008432gq)

The Proteas have an unblemished Test record at the WACA since readmission.

They have played four Tests, won three consecutive matches, and drawn the first one way back in 2005.

The most memorable was, of course, the 2012 win that sealed the series, while the last one in 2016 was also special with the Proteas producing a monumental comeback.

Much of the success has been attributed to the WACA pitch having the same traits as the Wanderers back home in Johannesburg and the fact that Perth boasts the largest South African expatriate community Down Under.

But that was all the work of the Proteas Men’s team.

It’s now the turn of the Proteas Women’s side to forge their own legacy at the storied venue in the one-off Test against the Aussies starting this week.

It has even greater significance not only because it’s the first between the two countries but also marks the first red-ball international held at the WACA since 2017 and only the fourth women’s Test match held at the ground, with the last one taking place in January 2014 due to the construction of the mammoth Optus Stadium just across the Swann River.

“It’s going to be a great challenge for us,” said Proteas Women’s allrounder Nadine de Klerk.

“Obviously, it’s kind of unknown territory for us and we haven’t played a lot of it (Test cricket). They’re a world-class side and we’re looking forward to going up against them.

“Coming to Australia is quite special in general. A lot of us haven’t actually played here before, so I think for a lot of our young girls, it’s a great experience and we might not get that opportunity any time soon.

“So, we’ll try and make the best out of it and hopefully have a lot of fun.”

De Klerk’s sole red-ball experience came in the Taunton Test two years ago against England. Many of her teammates have a similar lack of red-ball game time.

She feels, though, that the tourists will be able to adapt to the longer format.

“It’s about applying a lot of patience. It’s quite different from the white-ball games,” De Klerk said.

“You kind of have to bat for long periods of time and I think the bowlers are going to bowl quite a few overs in there. So it’s about figuring out how you want to go about it as individuals.

“Everybody’s game plan is going to look quite different.

“It’s about trying to figure out what works best for you and then taking that into the game.”

De Klerk will certainly have a big role to play in the Test as she has developed into one of the senior players within the Proteas Women’s squad very quickly.

Her performances have also been recognised at a higher level after she was named in the ICC ODI Team of the Year last year.

She believes her output is due to having earned a regular spot in the Proteas starting XI across formats and the experience gained playing in both The Hundred in England and Australia’s Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).

“I’ve actually done the same thing,

just more consistently. I’ve tried to just back myself a little bit more and being in and out of the side wasn’t always easy,” she said.

“Having the opportunity to play around the world and in a few different places really helped me grow as well. It’s about being really confident and backing my skills, and hopefully it can continue to grow from here on.”

The Test gets under way on Thursday at 5am, SA time.

@ZaahierAdams

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