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Australia's new Langer and Hayden?

Women's Ashes openers Nicole Bolton and Beth Mooney are drawing inspiration from Australia's greatest men's opening combo

It's been more than a decade since the prolific opening pair of Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer walked out to bat for the last time in Test cricket but there could be a second coming of the dynamic duo this week in Sydney.

Following a sublime 118 in Australia's pink-ball practice match in Canberra over the weekend, opening batter Beth Mooney is set to make her Test debut and partner Nicole Bolton at the top of the order in the historic day-night Ashes Test at North Sydney Oval from Thursday.

The pair are no strangers to one another. Mooney has played 17 one-day internationals as an opening batter and joining her to face the new ball has been Bolton on every occasion.

Together they have posted two century stands, both coming in this winter's Women's World Cup in England, and that's where Bolton first noticed the similarities between themselves and Australia's most successful Test opening partnership.

Dynamic Duo: Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer // Getty
Dynamic Duo: Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer // Getty

"She's obviously the brute from Queensland and I'm little Justin Langer from WA," Bolton told reporters in Sydney today.

"What we do so well is we play to different areas.

"Although we're both left-handers our strengths are really different.

"As a bowling attack we can be quite difficult to nut down a solid plan to.

"When one player is going the other plays the support role and I think it worked quite well in the World Cup."

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Mooney was dropped from the one-day side for the three-match ODI leg of the multi-format Ashes to squeeze in a sixth bowling option and allow explosive wicketkeeper-batter Alyssa Healy to take on tyro Katherine Brunt and England's new-ball attack.

While the move worked – Healy scored back-to-back half-centuries and Australia won the series 2-1 – coach Matthew Mott confirmed in the wake of the third ODI in Coffs Harbour that Healy would slot back down into a conventional wicketkeeper's position for the Test match, most likely at No.7.

But having posted a chanceless century in Canberra against an ACT Invitational XI attack boasting fellow Australia squad members Tahlia McGrath, Jess Jonassen and Belinda Vakarewa (who has since been omitted) and South Africa spearhead Marizanne Kapp, Mooney is a lock to open alongside Bolton when the Australians take strike in the first-ever day-night Ashes Test.

Mooney cashes in on open opportunity


"She batted beautifully (in Canberra)," Bolton said.

"Beth's been unlucky to miss out in the one-dayers and she's been in form.

"For her to go out and score a hundred and really stake her claim for that opening spot, the group was really excited for her."

Bolton strokes another half-century


Mooney and Bolton have a heavy task replicating the deeds of Hayden and Langer, who together amassed 5,655 runs and 14 centuries at 51.88 in 113 innings at the top for Australia.


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