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Molineux a chance for Australia comeback in Test

3 minute read

Injury-plagued spinner Sophie Molineux could make her international comeback in the Test match against South Africa after being named in Australia's squad.

SOPHIE MOLINEUX.
SOPHIE MOLINEUX. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

Sophie Molineux is a chance to play her first international match for more than two years after being selected in Australia's 14-player squad for the Test against South Africa.

But she will still have her work cut out breaking into the XI after five spin-bowling options were picked for the Test, which closes out the multi-format series from Thursday.

Heather Graham is the only player from the squad for December's Test match against India to be omitted on form.

Ahead of the Test match at the WACA Ground, national selector Shawn Flegler said the fast bowler remained in the mix for future fixtures.

"She's a very, very good cricketer, she's just got some good options ahead of her at the moment," he said.

Fellow quick Lauren Cheatle, who made her Test debut in Mumbai, also misses out after having a skin cancer removed from her neck last week.

"Obviously our thoughts are with her," Flegler said.

"She just needs to concentrate on her health and hopefully she comes back and gets herself right again and gets herself back in contention."

Spinner Molineux, 26, last represented Australia in October 2021, and has since battled injuries.

She missed Australia's home Ashes and ODI World Cup triumphs in 2022 through a foot fracture, before rupturing her left anterior cruciate ligament playing for the WBBL's Melbourne Renegades that November.

Since returning to play in December, the Victorian captain has become the leading wicket-taker for the WNCL season, and was player of the match when the Governor-General's XI defeated South Africa last month.

"It was a nice call to make," Flegler said of informing Molineux she would be going to Perth.

"She's been through a lot in the last couple of years. She was pretty emotional, she's put a lot of hard work in over the last 12 months

"She's an all-format player, was an all-format player before she got injured, and she's come back in great nick."

South Africa's squad features six potential Test debutants, including Tazmin Brits, Masabata Klaas, Ayanda Hlubi and Eliz-Mari Marx, all of whom played in the one-day International defeat of Australia on Wednesday.

Right-arm quick Ayabonga Khaka is the only member of the Proteas' white-ball squad to drop out for the red-ball match.

Australian selectors have also announced a "Green vs Gold" red-ball match, to be played from March 5-7 and designed to provide the next tier of Test players with match practice.

There is some crossover between the Test squad and the 26 players named for the fixture at Karen Rolton Oval, with Alana King, Darcie Brown and Kim Garth all set to take part.

AUSTRALIA: Alyssa Healy (c), Darcie Brown, Ash Gardner, Kim Garth, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham.

SOUTH AFRICA: Laura Wolvaardt (c), Anneke Bosch, Tazmin Brits, Nadine de Klerk, Mieke de Ridder, Ayanda Hlubi, Sinalo Jafta, Marizanne Kapp, Masabata Klaas, Sune Luus, Eliz-Mari Marx, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Chloe Tryon, Delmi Tucker.

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