The WACA

The WACA

Cricket Ground Information

Ground NameThe WACA
AddressWACA Ground, Nelson Cr, East Perth WA 6004, Australia
Establishment1893
Capacity20,000
First Match Held11 March 1894
Official Websitehttps://wacaground.com.au/
OwnerWestern Australian Cricket Association (WACA)
OperatorWestern Australian Cricket Association (WACA)
TenantsWestern Australia
Phone+61 (8) 9214 7700

Nestled in the heart of Perth, Western Australia, the WACA Ground stands as a revered landmark of Australian cricket history.

Its name, derived from the initials of its owners and operators, the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA), reflects its deep-rooted connection to the sport.

The stadium has witnessed countless cricketing triumphs, unforgettable moments of sporting drama, and the evolution of cricket over the decades.

The WACA Ground's rich heritage dates back to 1887, when it was established as a turf wicket ground.

Since then, it has hosted numerous Test matches, One-Day Internationals (ODIs), and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is), providing a stage for some of the most iconic moments in cricket history.

The stadium's fast, bouncy pitch has earned it a reputation as a challenging venue for batsmen, adding to its allure and mystique.

Beyond its cricketing legacy, the WACA Ground holds immense cultural significance for Western Australia.

It serves as a gathering place for passionate cricket enthusiasts, fostering a vibrant atmosphere that resonates with the state's sporting spirit.

The stadium's towering floodlights and distinctive architecture have become instantly recognizable symbols of Perth, their presence evoking memories of cricketing triumphs and the unique camaraderie that only a large stadium can provide.

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WACA


WACA

The WACA Ground, a historic sports stadium in Perth, Western Australia, has been an iconic venue for cricket since its inception.

This legendary cricket stadium, established by the Western Australian Cricket Association in 1885, it officially opened in 1893 on a former swamp site.

Known for its lightning-fast pitch, the WACA is celebrated for favoring pace and swing bowlers, contributing to its reputation for very fast scoring.

Throughout its history, the ground has seen significant developments, including the addition of grandstands and seating expansions, with a seating capacity around 20,000.

It has hosted numerous memorable cricket events, becoming an integral part of cricket history in Australia. Until 2019, it served as a home venue for the Perth Scorchers, a Big Bash League franchise.

Summary & Key Takeaways

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The WACA Ground: The Stadium with the Bounciest Pitch in the world

WACA Stadium

The WACA Ground in Perth, Western Australia, opened in 1893, stands out in cricket history for its quick and bouncy pitch, favoring pace bowlers.

It has undergone significant transformations, including seating expansions to accommodate around 20,000 spectators. Hosting many memorable cricket events, the ground has a rich heritage and was the home venue for the Perth Scorchers until 2019.

The unique characteristics of the WACA Ground make it a significant venue in the cricket history.

The History of WACA Ground

The WACA Ground, established in 1893, occupies former swamp land east of Perth City. The Western Australian Cricket Association, formed in 1885, secured a 999-year lease, effectively holding freehold title.

Initial developments included William Henry Wise’s turf wicket, laid in 1880, and the first grandstand built in 1895.

The venue’s remote location initially hindered its integration into Australia’s cricket community, only becoming accessible after the introduction of scheduled flights.

Throughout its history, the WACA underwent several renovations. Notable developments included the Farley Stand in 1931, a new scoreboard in 1954, the Players Pavilion in the 1960s, and major renovations from 1984 to 1988, including new stands and floodlights.

These upgrades expanded its use to other sports, such as Australian rules football, rugby league, and baseball.

The ground’s international significance grew, hosting various historic cricket matches, including World Series Cricket matches in the late 1970s.

However, by the 2018/19 season, Perth Stadium replaced it as Perth’s primary cricket venue. Recent renovations began in 2021, including demolishing older stands, installing LED sports lighting, and reshaping the ground for Australian rules football, with completion expected in December 2023.

Stadium Capacity

The WACA Ground in Perth, Western Australia, currently holds a seating capacity of around 20,000. This number has fluctuated over time due to various redevelopments.

In 2002, the capacity was reduced from its higher figures following the demolition of the Farley Stand and the old Players Pavilion.

This reduction also included a resizing of the playing arena, limiting the ground’s use for Australian rules football. Despite this, temporary stands can increase the capacity to 24,500 when needed.

Compared to other cricket stadiums globally, the WACA’s capacity is modest. For instance, Perth Stadium, which replaced the WACA as Perth’s primary cricket venue in the 2018/19 summer, boasts a significantly larger capacity of 60,000.

Internationally, stadiums like India’s Narendra Modi Stadium (132,000 capacity) dwarf the WACA in terms of seating capacity.

The design and layout of the WACA, particularly after the 2002 redevelopment, focus on providing an intimate and engaging fan experience.

While it may not rank among the largest cricket grounds, its stunning design and atmosphere is unique, often praised for its closeness to the action and spectator comfort.

The highest recorded attendance at the WACA was 34,317 during the 1994 AFL finals, a testament to its capacity to host large crowds for significant events.

In recent years, plans have been proposed to transform the WACA into a 15,000-capacity boutique stadium with improved facilities, aiming to enhance the fan experience further while adapting to modern needs.

This redevelopment is part of a broader strategy to maintain the WACA’s relevance and appeal in the contemporary sports and entertainment landscape.

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Pitch and Conditions at the WACA Ground

The WACA Ground, known for hosting its first Test in 1970, quickly gained fame for its fast and hard pitch, offering a favorable ground for some of Australia’s notable fast bowlers like Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.

Over the years, the pitch has undergone several changes. In 2002, the ground saw a redevelopment, resulting in a reduced capacity and new features, including a smaller playing area.

Type of Pitch

The pitch at the WACA has been a subject of continuous evolution. Historically, the soil composition of the WACA pitches was around 75-85% clay, which became rock hard under the sun, contributing to the ground’s pace and bounce.

However, in recent times, the clay content has decreased to approximately 55-65%, with an increase in sand content (28-38%), affecting the pitch’s traditional characteristics of pace and bounce.

Efforts to return the pitch to its former glory included sourcing new clay from a reserve on the Harvey River, aiming to restore the pitch’s historic fast and bouncy nature.

Behavior of the Pitch

The WACA pitch, once known for its speed and bounce, has seen some changes in behavior over time.

Recently, the pitch showed a more balanced nature, providing opportunities for both bowlers and batters, as indicated in a match where both sides achieved high scores and the bowlers found some assistance.

The pitch is reportedly returning to its traditional behavior, at least for the initial days of a match, with recent games suggesting the usefulness of spinners in the later stages.

Weather Conditions

Perth’s weather is generally hot, with temperatures often moderated by the Fremantle Doctor, a breeze that flows along the Swan River.

This breeze, besides providing a cooling effect, can also influence play on the field. The forecast typically predicts hot and dry conditions for the initial days of a match, with a slight cool down later, and minimal chances of rain.

Historical Data on Pitch Behavior

Historically, the WACA Ground has been a venue where fast bowlers thrived, thanks to the pitch’s pace and bounce. This characteristic remained consistent until recent years when the pitch started showing a more balanced nature.

Despite its reputation, the ground fell out of favor for hosting Tests of major teams after 2013 due to not meeting certain standards.

It only returned to the Test calendar after a two-year break but has not hosted major teams like South Africa, Australia, England, or India since 2018/19.

The WACA Ground, with its rich history and evolving conditions, continues to be a significant venue in the world of cricket, offering unique challenges and opportunities to players.

Memorable Matches and Moments

These matches and moments not only highlight the WACA Ground’s rich cricketing history but also its significance in the hearts of cricket enthusiasts around the world.

Iconic Matches

  • Ian Brayshaw’s 10-FOR: In 1967, Brayshaw took an exceptional 10-44 in a Sheffield Shield match against Victoria.
  • Perth’s First Test Match: In 1970, the WACA hosted its first Test match, a draw between Australia and England witnessed by over 84,000 fans.
  • Dennis Lillee Routs the World XI: Lillee’s remarkable 8-29 in 1971 against World XI remains a standout performance.
  • Doug Walters’ Century in a Session: In 1974, Walters scored a century in a session against England, sealing it with a six off the last ball.

Historical Significance

  • The Miracle Match: In a 1976 One Day Cup semifinal, WA was all out for 77 but managed to dismiss Queensland for 62.
  • Seven Sandgropers Selected for Australia: In 1981, seven players from Western Australia were selected for the national team, marking a golden era for WA cricket.

Record-Breaking Performances

  • The Lillee/Miandad Incident: The infamous clash between Lillee and Javed Miandad in 1981 created an iconic sporting image.
  • Glenn McGrath’s Hat-Trick / 300th Wicket: In 2000, McGrath achieved his 300th Test wicket and a hat-trick in the same match against the West Indies.
  • Adam Gilchrist’s 57-Ball Century: Gilchrist’s rapid century in 2006 against England was the second-fastest in Test history at the time.

Dramatic Finishes

  • Reclaiming The Ashes: In 2013, Australia reclaimed the Ashes, with Steve Smith scoring a significant century against England.

Facilities and Features

 

The WACA Ground has undergone several renovations to enhance spectator amenities.

Notably, the 2002 redevelopment improved facilities for both players and spectators, reducing the capacity to around 20,000. Temporary stands can boost this to 24,500 for major events.

The ground features iconic elements like the historic scoreboard from 1954 and the Players Pavilion from the 1960s.

Major renovations from 1984 to 1988 included new seating and terracing, as well as the Prindiville Stand and the Lillee-Marsh Stand.

Hospitality Services

  • The WACA offers various hospitality services, including the Boundary Room for conferences and formal events, and The Outfield for a unique experience on the iconic ground.
  • VIP and membership services include access to the Victory Lounge, fine dining packages, private bars, VIP lift entry, and in-seat beverage services.

Parking and Transportation

  • There is ample parking available in adjacent City of Perth Carparks. The ground is also well-connected by public transport, with Yellow and Red Central Area Transit (CAT) Buses providing convenient access.

Technological Infrastructure

  • Technological features include a new video screen installed in 2013 near the old scoreboard.
  • The ground’s lighting system, an iconic feature, comprises six large 70-meter-high light towers, upgraded with LED sports lighting.

Player Facilities

  • Player facilities have been a focus of recent improvements. In 2019, two new change rooms under the Lillee Marsh Stand were constructed to support women’s cricket.
  • The ground is set to deliver enhanced high-performance facilities, including a 10-lane indoor cricket and multi-sport centre, a high-performance gym, and state-of-the-art change rooms and recovery facilities.
  • The ongoing redevelopment includes a central pavilion, a multi-purpose function centre, dedicated high-performance facilities for elite players, a community health club, and a museum among other amenities.

Visitor Information: Location and Tips

Public transport to the WACA Ground is convenient with Yellow and Red Central Area Transit (CAT) Buses.

The Yellow CAT stops at the intersection of Hale St and Waterloo Crescent, connecting to Perth and Claisebrook train stations, while the Red CAT stops at Queens Gardens, connecting to Perth train station.

Parking is available in nearby City of Perth Carparks, and the nearest public car park is along Nelson Crescent – Queens Garden Car Park. Street parking is also available along Nelson Crescent.

For disabled visitors, ACROD parking is located at Queens Gardens Car Park. Additionally, there is a designated taxi and Uber zone on Nelson Crescent.

Match Day Tips

Visitors are advised to bring sunscreen, especially if attending a day match, as the stands on the eastern side receive sunlight until later in the day, making it quite hot.

Architecture of the WACA Ground

The WACA Ground, a prominent sports stadium in Perth, Western Australia, has evolved over time with various architectural influences reflecting different eras. Originally built in the 1890s, it has been the hub for cricket in Western Australia, with the pitch known for its speed and bounce.

Design Philosophy

The WACA Ground Improvement Project aims to transform the stadium into a sustainable, community-focused sports venue.

With a capacity of 10,000, the design emphasizes vibrancy and honors the ground’s rich history. It is intended to support community activities year-round, adding amenities for the growing CBD population.

Architects and Builders

The improvement project is overseen by Matthew Batchelor, a senior member of COX’s Sport Leadership team, known for his technical expertise and project management skills.

His role in the WACA project indicates a focus on integrating modern design with the stadium’s traditional aspects.

Structural Details

Historically, the WACA has seen several developments, including the construction of grandstands and facilities for players and administration in the 1960s, realignment and resurfacing, and the installation of light towers for night matches.

Stadium Layout

The original layout included various stands like the Farley Stand, the Test Stand, and later additions like the Prindiville and Lillee-Marsh stands, catering to the evolving needs of spectators and players.

Roofing and Cover

The architectural details specific to roofing and cover aren’t explicitly detailed in available sources. However, the overall stadium structure has been modified over time to accommodate changes in spectator and player needs.

Seating Configuration

Initially, seating was designed to accommodate 500 people, with subsequent expansions aligning with significant events like the introduction of Test cricket.

The ground’s capacity was further increased with new stands in the 1980s, and renovations in 2002 reduced the capacity to around 20,000.

Integration with Environment

The latest redesign focuses on sustainable development, aligning with modern urban requirements and providing facilities like a central swimming pool and community amenities, demonstrating an intent to be an eco-friendly stadium.

Iconic Features

One of the most iconic features of the WACA is its pitch, considered one of the quickest and bounciest in the world, making it a favored venue for pace and swing bowlers. The fast outfield contributes to the ground’s reputation for high scoring.

Renovations and Upgrades

Major renovations took place from 1984 to 1988, including realignment and resurfacing, new stands, and light towers. The capacity was reduced in 2002, and in 2021, redevelopment began to introduce a community sports hub facility and accommodate Australian rules football.


Final Words about The WACA Ground

The WACA Ground, a historic cricket stadium in Perth, Western Australia, stands as an iconic venue for cricket.

Its fast, bouncy pitch has favored pace bowlers, contributing to its reputation for high-scoring matches and thrilling contests.

Despite its relatively small capacity, the WACA exudes an intimate and engaging atmosphere, drawing spectators closer to the action.

Its historic stands, named after cricketing legends, serve as constant reminders of its glorious past.

While it has relinquished its status as Perth’s primary cricket venue, the WACA’s legacy remains firmly etched in the annals of cricket history.

It represents a symbol of the city’s sporting spirit, a place where the passion for cricket converges with the warmth and hospitality of the local community.

For cricket purists, the WACA ground remains a pilgrimage site, offering a unique experience that embodies the sport’s raw essence. Its future looks bright, with ongoing renovations aimed at ensuring it continues to serve as a beacon of cricketing excellence.


Anything You Need to Know about The WACA Ground

Is the WACA still used?

Yes, the WACA Ground is still used for cricket matches. It is the home ground for the Western Australia men’s and women’s cricket teams. The stadium has also hosted several international matches, including Test matches, One-Day Internationals (ODIs), and Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).

Why is it called the WACA?

The WACA Ground is named after the initials of its owners and operators, the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA).

Why is the WACA so fast?

The WACA Ground is known for its fast, bouncy pitch. This is due to a number of factors, including:

  • The type of soil: The soil at the WACA Ground is sandy, which makes it very hard and dry. This makes the ball bounce more and travel faster.

  • The climate: Perth has a hot, dry climate. This helps to keep the pitch hard and dry, which also contributes to the fast bounce of the ball.

  • The wicket preparation: The WACA Ground is known for its hard, bare wickets. This is because the groundkeepers do not cut the grass on the pitch very often. This leaves the pitch with a short, dry surface, which makes the ball bounce more.

What are the dimensions of the WACA?

The dimensions of the WACA Ground are as follows:

  • Length: 148 meters (162 yards)
  • Breadth: 132 meters (144 yards)

Why did they stop using the WACA?

The WACA Ground is no longer used as regularly for international cricket matches as it once was. This is due to a number of factors, including:

  • The rise of Twenty20 cricket: Twenty20 cricket is a shorter format of the game that is more popular with spectators. This has led to a decline in the popularity of Test matches, which are the traditional format of cricket played at the WACA Ground.

  • The development of new pitches: New pitches have been developed in other parts of Australia that are more conducive to spin bowling. This has made these pitches more attractive to teams that rely on spin bowling, such as India and Sri Lanka.

  • The cost of maintaining the WACA Ground: The WACA Ground is a very expensive stadium to maintain. This is due to the need for a lot of water to keep the pitch hard and dry. In recent years, there has been a shortage of water in Western Australia, which has made it more difficult and expensive to maintain the WACA Ground.

Despite these factors, the WACA Ground remains an iconic cricket venue and is still used for domestic cricket matches. It is also a popular tourist destination, and many cricket fans come to Perth to experience the unique atmosphere of the WACA Ground.

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