A Jess Jonassen century and fifties to Grace Harris and Maitlan Brown has given Australia's bowling attack a working over on day two of an intra-squad match in Brisbane
Jonassen fires as 'A' side denies Aussies in Ashes warm-up
A classy hundred from Australia A captain Jess Jonassen and the unfamiliar Dukes ball has given Australia's bowling attack plenty to ponder three weeks out from their Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.
Jonassen, who is very much in the frame to play that Test match, switched sides for this two-day intra-squad fixture in Brisbane, and stroked 121 from No.5 to form the backbone of her side's 9-322 from 85 overs.
The left-hander's strongest support arrived late via her Queensland counterpart Grace Harris, who hit a typically aggressive 55 from 46 balls including five fours and two sixes, and NSW seamer Maitlan Brown (57).
It was an important hit-out for Australia's bowling group in particular, as it provided them with an opportunity to use the Dukes ball, which they will play with in Nottingham.
"With the different characteristics of the Dukes, and the lacquer on it, they've just been learning how to go about getting it to swing all day," said bowling coach Scott Prestwidge after play.Image Id: 9D986D754F164A6383C6476C575C4D22 Image Caption: Harris smashed a brisk half-century against Australia // Supplied-cricket.com.au
"The wobble-seam ball, which is also new to these guys, is actually very effective as well with the Dukes ball, so it's been about introducing that and just learning all the characteristics of the ball.
"They got it swinging all day today, and we've got a ball maintenance team who are really working hard on that ball, which is not something they have to place much importance on in the shorter formats.
"We've got another practice match when we get over there and that'll be another chance for them to work on what is a new skillset for them."
The day began with pace bowler Kim Garth finding some consistent outswing, and an initially steady flow of wickets started when she had WA 'keeper-batter Maddy Darke caught at point for seven.Image Id: 62ECA39E01CC452687C29409DA21276B Image Caption: Australia captain Alyssa Healy chat tactics with head coach Shelley Nitschke // Supplied-cricket.com.au
The Aussie A group found themselves three down before drinks when Ellyse Perry had Tahlia Wilson (5) edging through to an acrobatic Alyssa Healy behind the stumps, and Garth doubled her tally by trapping Heather Graham lbw for five.
Perry had been tasked with managing the condition of the Dukes ball and seemingly did her job well, with Tahlia McGrath, Darcie Brown and later Graham (who swapped sides so she could have a bowl) both finding movement in the air.
Captain Jonassen's arrival to the middle calmed proceedings and she and promising South Australian star Courtney Webb made their way relatively untroubled towards lunch.
Webb, with a high back-lift and a composed look at the crease, seemed comfortable enough against both pace and spin but was out from what proved to be the final ball before lunch when the returning Darcie Brown dug one in short and the right-hander lashed a pull shot straight to McGrath at a close mid-on. Having worked into her innings for more than an hour, she threw her head back in disappointment as her side fell to 4-74 at the first interval.
The lunch break offered an interesting sideshow when Vics quick Tayla Vlaeminck had a brief bowl on the centre wicket. While she is being carefully managed as she returns from another long-term injury, Vlaeminck immediately struck up a good rhythm and the speed gun timed her as quick as 123.8kph.
The pace bowler then fielded briefly in the second session in place of Megan Schutt, who was not called upon to bowl at all with the Dukes.
Jonassen showed greater intent in the second session, punching leg-spinner Georgia Wareham down the ground and then keeping it along the carpet from Brown in the same direction. Both shots brought boundaries but at the other end, wickets continued to fall, with another leg-spinner, Alana King, removing Charli Knott and Tess Flintoff cheaply.
Harris cut King for a pair of twos to get her innings underway and soon freed her arms, dominating an 81-run stand with Jonassen for the seventh wicket that ensured the contest went into a third session. She was particularly savage on the spinners, but when Healy put five fielders on the rope, she picked out Perry at long off from Wareham and was on her way.
Jonassen and Maitlan Brown took the match into a final session, the pair sharing a fine 111-run stand as the former raised three figures with a lovely straight drive for four off Wareham.
She was finally out as the day drew towards a close, and the match ended with Australia A having successfully staved off their more experienced counterparts.
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Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham
Test: June 22-26 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, 11am local (7pm AEST)
First T20I: July 1 at Edgbaston, Birmingham, 6.35pm (3.35am July 2 AEST)
Second T20I: July 5 at The Oval, London, 6.35pm (3.35am July 6 AEST)
Third T20I: July 8 at Lord’s, London, 6.35pm (3.35am July 9 AEST)
First ODI: July 12 at The County Ground, Bristol, 1pm (10pm AEST)
Second ODI: July 16 at The Rose Bowl, Southampton, 11am (7pm AEST)
Third ODI: July 18 at The County Ground, Taunton, 1pm (10pm AEST)