Australia captain Meg Lanning has endorsed the view that if Test cricket is to grow as a viable format in the women's game, then multi-day matches need to be played at domestic level as her team prepares for a home season that will include games against India and England.
Lanning also sees merit in extending Tests to five days, something England captain Heather Knight spoke about after the recent match against India which ended in a draw, but has committed to her Australian team playing aggressively this season to try and ensure results.
"It makes sense if we are going to be playing more Tests internationally to have some sort of domestic structure in place," Lanning said on the day that international tickets went on public sale. "I'm not sure exactly how you'd do that but it's hard to get better at something if you aren't practicing at the level below. To give us the best chance and play the way we want to, we need to be practicing.
"We'll be looking to get some results from the Tests we play, but an important part of it is learning how to win the Tests. That only comes with experience and time playing the format. The more we play, the better the spectacle will be. As players, we want to play as aggressively as we can, so this summer will give us a good chance to do that and hopefully, that means there'll be more to come."
In terms of preparing to face India in a day-night fixture at the WACA in late September, Lanning indicated Australia would have multi-day practice matches ahead of the series. Matthew Mott, the head coach, cautioned last week that India could arrive as the better-prepared team, having faced England in a one-off Test while a number of their players would also have been a part of the Hundred.
"I think it's an important point given we don't play a lot of Test matches and we are coming from our off-season," Lanning said. "I'm sure there'll be some practice games in there, whether it be inter-squad or if we bring some players to play against. It's an important part of the preparation to get the tempo right in terms of the longer format. You need to play around a bit and work out what will suit you best. Everyone is thinking about that as we start our pre-season. We'll do the best we can."
"They are two really quick young bowlers who are super exciting. The prospect of both of those being unleashed on the WACA is quite a nice one"Meg Lanning on Tayla Vlaeminck and Darcie Brown possibly teaming up for the WACA Test
The most logical route for an expansion of Test cricket would appear to be around the multi-format series which began with the Ashes, and Lanning hoped that India's Test in Australia would open the door for return fixtures.
"Personally, I'd love to play a Test in India. I think that would be a really good challenge and something I'd love to happen in the not-too-distant future," she said. "Hopefully, this just isn't a one-off and is something that will continue into the future."
One enticing prospect in the Test matches, especially at the WACA, is the potential to have pace bowlers Tayla Vlaeminck and Darcie Brown team up. Vlaeminck returned to the side after injury on the tour of New Zealand earlier this year while Brown, who is capable of sharp late swing, made her debut on the same trip and pushed the speed gun.
"The fast-bowling unit of our squad has been building over the last months," Lanning said. "They are two really quick young bowlers who are super exciting. The prospect of both of those being unleashed on the WACA is quite a nice one. Hopefully, they are both fit and available to be picked. Having had a few chats with Motty about what our side might look like, it's going to be very difficult to get it down to 11 players; we've got some great variations."
Looking more broadly at a packed season, which concludes next March and April with the ODI World Cup in New Zealand, Lanning is aware that some players may need to be managed to ensure they are peaking when most needed.
"That will be a crucial part of our summer to make sure we are managing our workloads - physically and mentally - the best we can," she said. "It is a new test - we haven't played this much ever, to be honest. Everyone wants to play as many games as they can and we'll try to do that, but there likely will be times when we'll have to manage players, particularly the fast bowlers with the extra load. Our fitness and ability to cover the ground is something we pride ourselves on and hopefully, we can get ourselves into really good shape which will hold us in good stead."
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo