CommBank Women's Ashes - Test
Three metal plates and a Baggy Green: Mooney set for Test
Australia captain Meg Lanning hails the 'inspirational' efforts of Beth Mooney who is set to line up in the middle order in the Ashes Test just days after surgery on a fractured jaw
Laura Jolly in Canberra
26 January 2022, 05:52 PM AEST
Beth Mooney has three metal plates in her face, wire on her bottom teeth and is restricted to eating soup, milkshakes and ice-cream through a straw, and is set to line up in Australia's Ashes Test XI on Thursday.
Mooney is expected to be named in the middle-order for Australia just nine days after surgery on jaw that was fractured while batting in the nets on the first official day of the Ashes tour in Adelaide.
Speaking on radio on Wednesday, Mooney offered details of the incident and its immediate aftermath, revealing she at first feared – as did many inside and outside the team – it would spell the end of her Ashes and ODI World Cup hopes.
But Australia's medical staff were optimistic of a much faster return, and Mooney was back to the nets to begin facing throwdowns just three days after surgery.
"(The medical staff) were pretty adamant to me not long after we got the diagnosis that we could aim for the Test match," Mooney told SEN radio.
"We went and got a 3D CT scan of my skull, and there were two clear breaks pretty much straight down my chin, and then where the ball hit the side of my face, there was another clear break down the side there.
"I've got two plates in my chin and one near my ear and a few screws.
"I don't think you can speed up a broken bone, it's going to be broken for five more weeks, but it's certainly a lot more comfortable now than it was a week or so ago."
"(The surgeon) said if you were playing a contact sport you'd need between two and four weeks …. but it's unlikely you're going to get hit there again and if you did, it would break anyway."
Mooney revealed her surgeon even suggested she could play the second and third T20Is in Adelaide last weekend, adding "(Team doctor) Pip and I looked at each other and said 'why don't we just aim for the Test match'."
On Tuesday, she was facing the quicks in the Manuka Oval nets, and on Test eve on Wednesday, lining up in the slips during fielding drills.
The biggest concern for Mooney and medical staff is how she will maintain her energy levels through the four-day match, given she is restricted to a liquid-only diet for the time being to help her jaw heal.
"She said she's able to eat unlimited amounts of ice cream," captain Meg Lanning said on Wednesday.
"So she's pretty happy with that. Otherwise it's soups, a few milkshakes and thickshakes.
"It's pretty incredible. Right from the moment she got hit she was pretty positive about the whole situation.
"To be coming back to play international cricket around a week after having jaw surgery is pretty inspirational for the group."
Lanning stopped short of confirming Haynes would open with Healy, but Mooney shared a net with middle-order allrounder Tahlia McGrath this week, and ODI opener Haynes batted with Alyssa Healy against the fresh red Kookaburra, offering a hint at the Australians' plans.
Ellyse Perry will also return for Australia after being dropped for the Twenty20s, with Lanning suggesting she had narrowed it down to 12 players in the running for the final XI.
The final spot appears to be a battle between Annabel Sutherland and Stella Campbell, and the state of the Manuka wicket on Thursday morning will likely prove the decisive factor.
"It will come down to looking at the wicket and working out what bowling attack we feel is going to be best suited to these conditions," Lanning said.
"It looks pretty green out there but it has lightened up a touch over the last few days.
"I think there'll be a bit on offer early on in the Test match, especially day one, which is great. I think we really need that for this Test match."
Australia enter the Test with a 4-2 lead in the series, and a win in the four-day match will be enough to retain the Ashes, with four points on offer for the winner.
A draw would leave the hosts needing to win one of the three ODIs to keep the trophy, while England would need to win all three ODIs.
Possible Australia Test XI: Alyssa Healy (wk), Rachael Haynes, Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Beth Mooney, Tahlia McGrath, Ashleigh Gardner, Jess Jonassen, Megan Schutt, Darcie Brown, Stella Campbell
Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes v England
Australia Ashes squad: Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Stella Campbell, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (vc), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Meg Lanning (c), Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland
England Ashes squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Maia Bouchier, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Nat Sciver (vc), Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt
Australia lead the multi-format series 4-2
Jan 20: Australia won by nine wickets
Jan 22: No Result
Jan 27-30: Test match, Manuka Oval, 10am AEDT,