Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent
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South Africa will host Australia for five ODIs and three T20Is in August 2023 in lieu of the three Tests that were scheduled for March 2021 but had to be postponed because of Covid-19. The Tests, which were part of the 2019-2021 World Test Championship cycle, are now set to be scrapped completely and be replaced by these eight white-ball fixtures, largely in preparation for the 2023 ODI World Cup.
ESPNcricinfo has learnt that Cricket South Africa is not expected to lose any money as a result of the change. Though seven fewer days of cricket will be played now, the white-ball fixtures will make an equal amount of revenue for CSA as the three Tests would have, which is why it has agreed to the change.
South Africa will also travel to Australia in late 2022 for their first festive Test series since 2008, with three matches due to be played in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. They will also play three ODIs as part of the World Cup Super League. Those matches are expected to take place after the Test, in January 2023, but CSA is concerned that it will clash with its new franchise T20 league and is in negotiations to have the matches played earlier, possibly before the Tests.
South Africa and Australia have not played against each other in Tests since the Sandpapergate series in South Africa in 2018. They have since met in three ODIs in South Africa in March 2020, which South Africa won 3-0, and at the 2021 T20 World Cup, which Australia won, but were set to headline the 2021 summer with three Tests. Plans were underway for the series to take place, and CSA had made extensive arrangements to accommodate Australia, but they pulled out of the tour citing concerns over the pandemic, leaving CSA "disappointed and frustrated".
Cricket Australia had initially said it was looking at August 2023 as a window to reschedule the Tests, but because these matches are not part of the ongoing WTC cycle, there would have been no points at stake.