Women's Ashes ODIs
Test shake-up looms as Mott predicts spin to win
Australia's notoriously steady squad could see an Ashes Test bolter after early reports of a spin-friendly wicket in Taunton
Laura Jolly in Loughborough
28 June 2019, 09:49 AM AEST
Australia A spinners Sophie Molineux and Amanda-Jade Wellington loom as potential Baggy Green bolters for the one-off women’s Ashes Test, should the early mail coach Matthew Mott has received about Taunton’s County Ground prove correct.
The multi-format Ashes begin with three one-day internationals, but Australia are already planning for the four-day red-ball match in Taunton, scheduled to begin on July 18.
Australia have the flexibility to add an extra member to their current 14-player Ashes squad for the Test. They also have the convenience of having the Australia A party, currently on their own tour of the United Kingdom, close at hand.
"We’ll have a look at the wicket in Taunton, our mail is it could take some spin so there’s always the opportunity to play an extra spinner as well," Mott told cricket.com.au in Loughborough this week.
"Probably the most important thing is what that Test wicket is going to look like, we don’t have to add someone to the squad, but if there’s flexibility around it and there’s something we need we’ll certainly take that option.
"It’s an added incentive for the A players as well, if they know we’ve got the opportunity to add an extra player in late around the Test match so that 15th player, if someone is knocking the door down in the A team they’ve got the opportunity to come into the squad."
There are four tweakers in the Australia A group, but the leading contenders are left-arm spinner Molineux, who narrowly missed out on a place in the senior Ashes squad as she continues to recover from shoulder surgery in February, and leg-spinner Wellington, who was part of Australia’s most recent Test XI in November 2017.
Molineux slipped seamlessly into the Australian team after making her limited-overs debut in India in March last year, playing a key role in helping the Australians take out the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean last November.
She’d have been a lock for this Ashes group if not for an unfortunate accident at Victorian training in February, where the 21-year-old dislocated her right shoulder and was ruled out of the impending ODI series against New Zealand before going under the knife.
Molineux has resumed batting and bowling, but narrowly missed Ashes selection when it was decided she needed more time to work her way back from injury before returning to full international cricket.
"Sophie Molineux was incredibly unlucky not to get past her fitness benchmarks, so she’s obviously a key contender," Mott said.
"I think the one surprise we had was just how quickly (fast bowler) Tayla Vlaeminck got back from her injury, she really smashed it in the preseason at the NCC and just put a case together that we couldn’t deny … but definitely Sophie over the last 12 months has been a really good acquisition for our team and if she gets fit she’ll put a pretty good case together."
Wellington last played for Australia on that tour of India last March, before being overlooked for Australia’s next engagement – the home T20s against the White Ferns last September – in favour of fellow leggie Georgia Wareham.
The South Australian lost her Cricket Australia contract earlier this year and has since been training with the National Performance Squad in Brisbane.
Wareham, meanwhile, has since cemented her place in the Australian group and is looked upon as a three-format player for this Ashes series, but given England’s batting line-up consists entirely of right-handers, a second leg-spinner could be an option for Taunton if it does indeed look like suiting the slower bowlers.
Wellington produced on of the highlights of the 2017 Ashes in Australia when she bowled England opener Tammy Beaumont with a superb leg break.
"All our stats suggest leg-spin is pretty effective against England," Mott said.
"So that’s always something we’ll look at as it goes along."
Australia A have been training alongside the Australian squad in Loughborough this week and will meet the senior England team in a 50-over match on Saturday, giving all 13 squad members a chance to state a case for a call-up to the Test squad.
They’ll also meet Heather Knight’s England team in a three-day red-ball trial match from July 12, ahead of the Test, while they’ll meet the England Academy in a series of 50-over and 20-over matches.
While an ‘A’ player could be called into the Test squad, the concurrent tours also give an opportunity for Australian senior players outside the playing XI to take the field with Australia A, giving them precious game time in favour of running drinks.
"This has created a really unique opportunity for (Australia and Australia A) to play alongside each other and give our players an opportunity to get back and get some game time as well," Mott said.
"Leah Poulton is a fantastic coach and we’re going to work together to make sure we maximise game time for everyone, and it gives everyone a chance that rather than sitting on the pine and watching."
CommBank Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
June 26: England Academy v Australia, Loughborough
June 28: England Academy v Australia, Loughborough
July 2: First ODI, Grace Road, Leicester
July 11-13: England Academy v Australia, Marlborough College, Swindon
July 18-21: Only Test, The County Ground, Taunton
July 26: First T20, County Ground, Chelmsford
July 28: Second T20, The County Ground, Hove
A Test victory is worth four points (two each for a draw), two points are awarded for ODI and T20 wins
CommBank Australia A Tour of England
Australia A squad: Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Maddy Darke, Josie Dooley, Heather Graham, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Rachel Trenaman, Belinda Vakarewa, Amanda-Jade Wellington
June 29: England v Australia A, Loughborough
July 3: England Women’s Academy v Australia, Loughborough
July 5: England Women’s Academy v Australia, Loughborough
July 8: England Women’s Academy v Australia, Loughborough
Three-day tour match
July 12-14: England v Australia A, Millfield School, Street
July 17: England Women’s Academy v Australia, Millfield School, Street
July 19: England Women’s Academy v Australia, Millfield School, Street