A tale of two debutants at the MCG

Mixed fortunes for Australia's new faces as they eased past New Zealand at the MCG

Australia leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington is making a habit out of big entrances.

The 19-year-old took a wicket with her first ball in international cricket last November in an ODI against South Africa in Coffs Harbour.

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She didn’t quite replicate that effort in her T20 debut against New Zealand at the MCG on Friday but nonetheless managed to finish as the pick of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars bowlers, taking 3-15.

Her first T20 wicket came from her 14th delivery, as she had Katey Martin well caught by Jess Jonassen at mid-wicket for four.

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The South Australian later picked up the wickets of Katie Perkins and Liz Perry in her final over to complete another excellent debut.

"She’s a different bowler to what we’ve got and even though we have two leg-spinners, they bowl quite different," Australia batter Elyse Villani said of Wellington after her team’s 40-run win.

"She’s got quite a bit of turn and is slower than Kristen Beams.

"She’s got a big future in Australian cricket and she’s bowled beautifully."

Wellington was one of three debutants for the Southern Stars on Friday, joined by NSW allrounder Ashleigh Gardner and Victorian off-spinner Molly Strano, with Villani noting the trio had brought a special energy with them into the squad.

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"Having debutants freshens things up and reminds us how special it is to play for Australia," she said.

"You get goosebumps watching other players get their caps presented.

"The good thing about these three today is that they’ve been playing well for a number of years, they haven’t just been plucked from somewhere.

"They didn’t look out of place today and that was really important for our team and a great show of the depth around Australia cricket."

While Wellington starred and Strano also picked up her first international wicket – no doubt spurred on by the very vocal support from her club teammates in the crowd – it was a different story for Gardner, who was run out after the first ball she faced.

Having survived an lbw shout, Gardner took off for a quick single but after being sent back by skipper Meg Lanning, was run out after thanks to a direct hit from Lea Tahuhu.

Gardner run out first ball on debut

Villani said she felt for the 19-year-old, who came into the series after a stunning Rebel Women’s Big Bash League campaign for the Sydney Sixers.

"I guess she was probably a bit nervous coming in at number three (in the order)," she said.

"But in saying that, she’s the kind of player who won’t come off every game. But we back her and the way she’s been playing in the WBBL, I know she’ll be successful at this level.

"Her day will come and when it does, she’ll tear the opposition apart.

"Speaking from experience, I know how nerve racking (debuts) can be.

"You start thinking it’s a different game when it’s not really.

"But she’s going to be better for the experience and I’ve no doubt she’ll be disappointed with today but ready to come back in Geelong on Sunday."

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