Sydney: Ricky Ponting could break Steve Waugh's record as Australia's most-capped Test cricketer in front of his home fans at Hobart after the international summer schedule was announced on Thursday. If the veteran batsman plays all three Tests against South Africa in November, he will be on track to create Australian cricket history in his home state of Tasmania in the first match of a three-Test series against Sri Lanka.
The former captain, who was dumped from the one-day international squad in February, has so far played 165 Tests, three shy of Waugh, his predecessor as skipper. South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies will play Down Under in the coming Australian summer, with the Gabba in Brisbane hosting its first Test against the Proteas in 49 years in the opening game on November 9.
South Africa beat Australia 2-1 when they last toured in 2008-09, and drew 1-1 with Michael Clarke's team when they met in a dramatic two-match series last year in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Sri Lanka begin their first Test visit to Australia since 2007 in Hobart on December 18 before Melbourne hosts the Boxing Day Test and Sydney the New Year's Test to wrap up the series.
If he plays in the first four home Tests this summer, he will overtake Steve Waugh as the most capped Aussie.
The Tests will be followed by a pair of five-match, head-to-head one-day international series - the first against Sri Lanka from January 11 and the second against the West Indies from February 1. The series against the West Indies will feature an international being played in Australian capital Canberra for the first time.
Three Twenty20s will take place - in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said that over the past 12 to 24 months some exciting new talent had emerged in the Australian ranks and the home series would be a tough test for them.
"The Australian men's team has a chance to test themselves early in the summer against a very strong South African side," he said.
"We're also fortunate to have Sri Lanka back again. They play a very entertaining and attacking style of cricket and have a passionate and vocal fan base around Australia."