Australia leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington has warned England she has plenty of tricks up her sleeve ahead of next week’s first-ever Ashes day-night Test.
The Australian squad is spending the week in Canberra and will have a crucial chance to test themselves against the pink-ball during a three-day warm-up game against an ACT invitational XI from Friday.
Wellington bamboozled the visitors with her leg-spin in the opening Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes ODI in Brisbane on October 22, putting the brakes on England’s innings and repeatedly beating the bat with her drift and spin.
She had less of an impact in the following two one-dayers in Coffs Harbour on a surface that was less helpful to the bowlers, but her ability to find prodigious turn and her reputation as a wicket-taker mean she will be a focus of England’s planning in the lead-up to the day-night Test at North Sydney Oval.
But if England think a simple review of what they saw from Wellington in the Ashes ODIs – which Australia won 2-1 – will be enough to prepare them, the South Australian says they should think again.
"I’ve definitely got a lot of variations that haven’t been seen yet,” Wellington said in Canberra on Tuesday.
"I don’t want to give too much away but I do have them up my sleeve.
"At the moment I feel like I’m bowling very consistently with my leg breaks so I don’t really need to change anything that often, but it will be good to be able to put that (different delivery) in just as a surprise.
"I’m not going to give too much away, but I don’t want to become too predictable with my leg breaks. So I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve."
Wellington’s 0-39 in that opening match in Brisbane belied the impact she had on the match. She only took one wicket across the three ODIs, but the 20-year-old believes the ball has rarely been coming out more consistently in her short international career to date.
"During the first and second game I didn’t taking as many wickets as I’d have liked but I was really excited with happy with the way I’ve been bowling,” she said.
"It’s the most consistent I’ve been bowling for a while and I’m very happy with the performances."
Spots in Australia’s Test XI will be on the line during the three-day warm-up game at Manuka Oval. The current 15-player group will be cut to a final 13 following the match.
The Test beginning on November 9 at North Sydney Oval will be the first ever pink-ball women’s Test, leaving plenty of unknowns for the players.
"It will be a challenge and we’re looking forward to it. I’m excited to see what (the ball) does and how much I can turn it," Wellington said.
The need to take 20 wickets to win the crucial four points on offer for the four-day Test means Wellington is a strong chance to win a Baggy Green. The South Australian is taking nothing for granted, but said it would be a “dream come true” if she was selected.
"My family will be coming up for the game, but no matter if I play or not it’s just fantastic to be in that squad,” she said. “It’s such a privilege to play in an Ashes series."
England will play a three-day warm-up of their own from Friday, taking on a CA XI in Blacktown.
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.
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