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Smith says Test 'cherry on top' of England tour for Proteas women
South Africa director of cricket Graeme Smith has said a first Test in over eight years for the Proteas women represented the "cherry on top" of a tour of England in June and July.
England and South Africa will compete in a multi-format series similar to the recent women's Ashes, where a thrilling drawn Test between Australia and England in Canberra led to calls for more women's Tests.
The Proteas series against England will begin with a one-off Test -- only the South Africa women's sixth such match since the turn of the century -- in Taunton, the headquarters of southwest county Somerset, starting on June 27.
It will be South Africa's first four-day fixture since they faced India in 2014 and the first time in almost 20 years they have played a Test against England.
The teams will then play three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s, the last of which is scheduled for July 18.
The T20s will help both countries prepare for the Twenty20 women's cricket tournament that forms part of the multi-sport 2022 Commonwealth Games hosted in Birmingham, with England and South Africa also set to meet in Group B.
In the limited-overs leg of the tour, the Proteas -- currently second in the ICC's women's ODI rankings -- will want to improve on their 2018 visit to England.
Back then they lost a bilateral ODI campaign 2-1 before finishing third behind New Zealand and England in a T20 tri-series.
- 'Pivotal tour' -
Smith, speaking after the England and Wales Cricket Board announced the schedule on Tuesday, looked forward to an "exciting" series.
The former South Africa men's captain added: "The scheduled Test match, which is something most cricket fans want to see more of, is the cherry on top of what will be a pivotal tour in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games."
Later in the season, England and India will play three T20s and three ODIs, the last of which will be staged at Lord's, 'the home of cricket', in London on September 24.
"We are thrilled to be able to announce a compelling summer of international women's cricket against two of the best teams in the world, in what is a bumper year for the women's game," said Clare Connor, the ECB's managing director of women's cricket.
Following an Ashes series loss, reigning 50-over global champions England defend their title at the Women's World Cup in New Zealand starting next month.
England Women home fixtures 2022
England v South Africa
June 27-June 30: One-off Test, Taunton
Jul 11: 1st ODI, Northampton
Jul 15: 2nd ODI, Bristol
Jul 18: 3rd ODI, Leicester
Jul 21: 1st T20, Chelmsford
Jul 23: 2nd T20, Worcester
Jul 25: 3rd T20, Derby
England v India
Sep 10: 1st T20, Riverside Ground, Durham
Sep 13: 2nd T20, Derby
Sep 15: 3rd T20, Bristol
Sep 18: 1st ODI, Hove
Sep 21: 2nd ODI, Canterbury
Sep 24: 3rd ODI, Lord's