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The Aussie leg-spinner bamboozling England

Amanda-Jade Wellington didn't take a wicket in the opening ODI but did enough to keep England on the back foot for game two

It was a sight to behold on Sunday, an Australian leg-spinner regularly beating the edge of an English bat in an Ashes contest.

Amanda-Jade Wellington drifted and fizzed and zipped the white Kookaburra ball in Brisbane in the first Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes one-day international at Allan Border Field.

The last time the Queensland capital bore witness to such a spectacle was 11 years ago, across town at the Gabba when the 'King of Spin' Shane Warne bamboozled England in what would become his farewell tour.

From the vault: Warne's 8-71 at the Gabba

"I think it is always something that Australians have had a bit of an affection for, isn't it? A nice leg-spinner," Wellington's skipper Rachael Haynes said on Wednesday.

"Amanda is an enormous talent, there's no doubt about it, and it's really great that she's always in the game, you feel like something could happen any ball.

"It is great as a fielding team as well that you feel there is an opportunity around the corner. I hope she takes this opportunity and runs with it."

Wellington in action at AB Field // Getty
Wellington in action at AB Field // Getty

Like Warne did so many times in his illustrious career, Wellington started right on point, conceding just 11 runs from her first five overs in the first of three one-day internationals in the multi-format series.

She ultimately finished with figures of 0-39, but her early spell put the brakes on England's innings that never shifted out of second gear.


Australia assistant coach Tim Coyle, a three-time Sheffield Shield-winning supremo with Tasmania, says England were caught on the back foot against the South Australian.

"I think they've seen something different from Australia," Coyle told The Unplayable Podcast.

"We've introduced a big-spinning leg-spinner to our team and that was the best 0-40 I've seen.

"Deserved wickets in her first game where she probably would've been a little bit nervous, I thought Amanda was great.

"She'll play a big role but they'll come out with some plans against her."

Coyle is right. England captain Heather Knight said on the eve of the second ODI in Coffs Harbour that in the short time her charges have spent in the coastal NSW town they've specifically trained for the Australia bowlers they're going to face, and that most definitely means Wellington.

But despite the praise for Wellington, including from the England camp when Knight said after play on Sunday she was Australia's most threatening bowler, visiting coach Mark Robinson says the spin-friendly wicket played a major part in why the leggie had success in the opening encounter.

Knowing the torrential rain was forecast for the week leading up to the first ODI, the AB Field groundstaff had the pitch prepared long in advance in case they couldn't work on it due to poor weather, meaning the wicket was a lot drier than what is traditionally produced.

Robinson doesn't expect to see more pitches take spin for the rest of the tour and was pleased with the way England's batters handled Wellington's prodigious turn.

"That wicket (at AB Field) properly ragged," Robinson said.

"She (Wellington) is a quality bowler, she spins it well, but I wouldn't expect many of the wickets to spin to that extent.

"We saw Australia play in their warm-up game and she didn't spin it like that, the wicket was slow, slow spin.

"She's a threat, and we practiced all through the World Cup because a lot of the teams have leg-spin. Unfortunately we don't.

"We're really happy how we played her, because all the cards were in her favour, she ragged it as you saw, and for us not to lose a wicket and to take her for 40 we were really happy."

Match wrap: Aussies prevail in tense Ashes-opener

One of Warne's greatest attributes was his ability to spin the ball big on all surfaces, a characteristic Wellington also boasts, according to her captain.

"I think she has shown she can turn it on any wicket, really," Haynes said.

"We've seen that in our practice matches where the wicket has been a little bit flatter.

"But I don't think she is a one-trick pony either. She has got more up her sleeve than just the leg-spinner.

"So I think you will see more of those come out as the series goes along."

England restricted to 9-228 in opening Ashes ODI

The fact that Wellington even played the first match would have surprised many.

The 20-year-old was picked ahead of veteran leg-spinner Kristen Beams, Australia's leading wicket-taker in the Women's World Cup this winter, an extremely difficult decision, said Haynes today.

"It was a very hard team to select," she said.

"It wasn't just that one position that we had to go have tough discussions over, it was really difficult and I think the girls have responded really well and it is the sign of a really strong team when selections like that really are line ball and people are competing for positions.

"So I have no doubt it'll be the same through the series and we will have to make some difficult decisions, but by the same token I am really happy with how the team has started and we will try to roll on with that momentum."

Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes

Australia lead England 2-0

Australia squad (ODI and Test): Rachael Haynes (C), Alex Blackwell (VC), Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa (Test only), Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.

England squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Nat Sciver, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt.

Schedule


First ODI Australia won by two wickets

Second ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 26

Third ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 29

Coffs Junior Cricket Association Partners: Coffs Harbour District JCA, Nambucca Bellingen JCA, and Clarence River JCA

Day-Night Test North Sydney Oval, November 9-12

First T20 North Sydney Oval, November 17

North Sydney Charity Partner: McGrath Foundation

Second T20 Manuka Oval, November 19

Third T20 Manuka Oval, November 21

Canberra Charity Partner: Lord's Taverners ACT