More matches, new venues and a restructured international season that will see less overlap with the KFC Big Bash League headline the international summer of cricket that will see Australia host New Zealand, South Africa, India and Sri Lanka.
Cricket Australia today confirmed its 2018-19 international schedule, with 22 matches across the formats, including the first men's international match to be played on the Gold Coast.
Australia will host South Africa in a T20 at the Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium, while the state-of-the-art Perth Stadium and Canberra's Manuka Oval will both host Test cricket for the first time.
Australia's women's team open the international summer with a three-match T20 series against New Zealand that will provide the Southern Stars with an ideal lead-in to their World T20 campaign in the Caribbean in November.
The opening T20 will mark the first international cricket played under CA's new $1.2bn broadcast rights agreement, with Seven and Foxtel to jointly televise the match. It will be played under lights on September 29 at North Sydney Oval, and is will immediately follow Seven's coverage of the AFL grand final earlier that day.
The men's internationals start on November 4 with the first of three ODIs against South Africa before the one-off T20 against the Proteas at Metricon Stadium, which will be followed by three T20s against India and then the start of the Test summer.
"Our men's international season structure changes slightly this summer, with one-day and T20 international matches against South Africa and India in November," said CA chief executive James Sutherland.
"This will be a win for fans, with less overlap with the Big Bash, giving Australians the opportunity to see Australia's best players involved in limited-overs cricket at international and domestic level."
Adelaide opens the Test summer against India on December 6 in a blockbuster Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, but a start time for the match is yet to be confirmed.
Adelaide has hosted a day-night Test for the past three years, but Indian authorities have been reluctant to accept the concept, although that appears to have eased last week with reports they have agreed to play a day-night Test against the West Indies in October.
Announcing the Adelaide Test dates without a confirmed start time mirrors the approach taken in 2016 ahead of the Test against South Africa, which was confirmed as a day-night match two months after the dates were confirmed.
Sutherland said the timing of Adelaide’s Test was still being discussed. "It is our preference that we play India in a day/night Test match in Adelaide, but we are still working through this detail and hope to have an answer on this in the coming weeks," he said.
The Perth Stadium will host its first Test match when India visit for the second Border-Gavaskar match, before the series moves back to Melbourne and Sydney for the traditional Boxing Day and New Year's games.
Following the Tests, there will be three ODIs against India in a seven-day window, which will result in the ODI stars spending less time out of the Big Bash League, a situation that had caused clubs and spectators pain in previous seasons.
There will be 16 days between the end of the India Tests and the start of a two-Test series against Sri Lanka, during which the three ODIs against India will be played. This also raises the possibility that Test stars could turn out for their BBL clubs in this period.
Brisbane will host the opening Test against Sri Lanka that will be played under lights at the Gabba and across the Australia Day weekend, before the second match in Canberra.
"We look forward to giving cricket fans in the nation's capital the opportunity to see elite cricket in action in the Test format for the first time," said Sutherland.
There will then be a fortnight-long gap in the international calendar in mid-February – which could see the closing stages of the BBL played when Australia's Test and limited-overs stars are available – before the women's team play three ODIs against New Zealand to close out the international summer.
Domestic fixtures – including an expanded KFC Big Bash League season that will feature 43 games, including finals, broadcast on Channel Seven – are expected to be confirmed mid-year.
"It's a summer which will contain plenty of high-quality cricket, and some exciting new additions to the Australian cricket calendar," said Sutherland.
"Overall, there are more international matches being played across more locations around the country than in previous years, and we believe this program has something for all cricket fans."
Public tickets for the men's internationals will go on sale in June, with women's matches on sale in August. Members of the Australian Cricket Family will again enjoy priority access to tickets. Join here.
2018-19 International Schedule
Commonwealth Bank Women's Series v New Zealand
First T20: North Sydney Oval, September 29 Second T20: Allan Border Field, Brisbane, October 1 Third T20: Manuka Oval, Canberra, October 5 First ODI: WACA Ground, February 22 Second ODI: Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide, February 24 Tour match: GG's XI v NZ, Drummoyne Oval, February 28 Third ODI: Junction Oval, Melbourne, March 3
Tour match: PM's XI v South Africa, Manuka Oval, Canberra, October 31 First ODI: Perth Stadium, November 4 Second ODI: Adelaide Oval, November 9 Third ODI: Blundstone Arena, Hobart, November 11 Only T20: Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast, November 17
India Men's tour of Australia
First T20: Gabba, November 21 Second T20: MCG, November 23 Third T20: SCG, November 25 First Test: Adelaide Oval, December 6-10 Second Test: Perth Stadium, December 14-18 Third Test: MCG, December 26-30 Fourth Test: SCG, January 3-7 First ODI: SCG, January 12 Second ODI: Adelaide Oval, January 15 Third ODI: MCG, January 18
Sri Lanka Men's tour of Australia
First Test: Gabba, January 24-28 (D/N) Second Test: Manuka Oval, February 1-5