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Aussies get into the swing of pink ball

Australia pace trio show good signs with pink ball ahead of historic Women's Ashes Test

As it has proven when used by the men, the pink ball swings and swings big for the women too.

Lauren Cheatle, Australia’s teenage left-armer, bent her first ball – and the opening delivery of the ACT Invitational XI’s innings in Canberra on Friday evening – back into front pad of right-handed opener Katie Mack to trap the batter for a golden duck.

Three overs later, Megan Schutt, Australia’s most prodigious swing bowler, hooped one in from so far outside off batter Hayley Jensen thought the ball would sail safely through to the wicketkeeper only to watch on in horror as it careened into her vulnerable stumps.

And coming on first change, Ellyse Perry, Australia’s fastest bowler, moved the ball away from the right-handers but collected two wickets with straighter balls, just for something different.

Just how much the pink ball would swing, how long it would stay swinging and how it would behave under lights were questions that were partially answered on day one in Australia’s sole twilight practice match ahead of next week’s first-ever day-night Ashes Test in Sydney.

Extended Highlights: Australia v ACT, day one

"It did swing, it's really promising to see that the pink ball is swinging," Cheatle told cricket.com.au after play.

"Schutter (Schutt) had one come back at the stumps with someone leaving it so it was moving a bit.

"Pez (Perry) got a bit of movement, Schutter stayed with it and I think Wello (leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington) was getting a bit of turn, so it was really great to bowl with.

"It was really exciting to see how the pink played under lights.

"It’s the first time we played properly under lights so it was really promising for the next couple of days."

Ball dominated bat on Friday where 12 wickets fell for 343 runs, as Australia (8-272 declared) finished the day with a 201-run lead over ACT, who at stumps were 4-71.

The sight of a swerving pink ball, particularly under lights, could sway the selectors into picking three seamers for the twilight Test at North Sydney Oval from Thursday next week in what would likely be the same attack that did the damage at Manuka Oval.

While the pink ball assisted the bowlers, century-maker Beth Mooney said despite having trouble picking it up at times, the fluorescent projectile wasn’t all bad for the batters.

"It was interesting," said Mooney, who made 118 before retiring.

"I think it’s really hard to pick the seam up but some people disagree with me.

"It’s a bit harder than the white ball so it comes quite nicely on to the bat, I feel.

Mooney cashes in on open opportunity

"It’s not a whole lot different.

"Obviously we haven’t played a lot with the pink ball before but it presents a nice challenge and the girls did really well tonight to get four wickets early and make use of the night-time conditions."

She added: "I reckon it swung pretty similarly to the white ball, probably 10-15 overs.

"It did a bit more off the wicket once it got a bit old so I think the seam came into play a bit more than it would with a white ball, so that was interesting."

Mooney was dropped from the 50-over side in the ODI leg of the multi-format Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes Series to make room for a sixth bowler but is now a certainty to play in the four-day Test after posting triple-figures.

The 23-year-old said her omission from the ODI XI provided extra motivation to put a performance on the board.

"It seems to be the theme for me at the moment,” she said. "I always seem to miss out then come out and make the most of an opportunity.

"It was really nice to go out there and score some runs and find some form and cash in on an opportunity."

Watch the Women’s Ashes Test LIVE and FREE on cricket.com.au and the Cricket Australia Live app, with enhanced coverage thanks to the support of Commonwealth Bank.

Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes

Australia lead England 4-2

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 Australia won by 75 runs (DLS method)

Third ODI England won by 20 runs (DLS method)

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