Australian Big Bash League cricket team the Perth Scorchers will play two matches at Perth Stadium in December as part of a ‘soft opening’ of the venue, while a one-day international match between England and Australia has reportedly won the race to officially open the ground in January.

The PerthNow news website said that the Scorchers will play two Twenty20 matches against an England A team in mid-December. One of the games is expected to be held behind closed doors, with another set to have a maximum capacity of 10,000.

It is hoped the fixtures will allow stadium operators to test the new drop-in pitches at the 60,000-seat stadium.

Perth Stadium boss Mike McKenna said: “As part of this testing process, there is an International Cricket Council and Cricket Australia requirement to formally accredit the venue and in doing so verify that it is suitable for international cricket.”

PerthNow also reported that an England-Australia ODI would serve as the first major sporting event at the stadium on January 28, although this has not been officially confirmed.

The race to officially open the stadium has been keenly contested by cricket, rugby league and Aussie rules football representatives in recent months.

So far, the earliest confirmed major sporting fixture at Perth Stadium is an AFL Women’s match featuring the Fremantle Dockers on February 10. The match is set to be the biggest standalone women’s sporting event to ever take place in Australia.

Perth Stadium will officially open on January 21 with a free public open day and it is hoped the venue will be ready to stage the England-Australia ODI a week later. The match will take place in Perth whatever happens, with the WACA Ground to play host if the new stadium is not ready.

Meanwhile, Australia’s National Rugby League has confirmed that it will stage a double-header at Perth Stadium on March 10 as part of its opening weekend. The South Sydney Rabbitohs will face the New Zealand Warriors, and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs will take on recently-crowned champions Melbourne Storm.

Other events scheduled for Perth Stadium in 2018 include two Ed Sheeran concerts and a friendly match between English Premier League football club Chelsea and Australian A-League team Perth Glory.

Image: Perth Stadium