Women's Ashes Tour Match
Molineux stars as Australia wrap up big warm-up win
Sophie Molineux, Tayla Vlaeminck and Ashleigh Gardner all made cases for Test debuts during another strong day for the Australians in Marlborough
Laura Jolly at Marlborough College, Marlborough
14 July 2019, 03:54 AM AEST
Sophie Molineux has made a rock-solid case for a Test debut, the allrounder bagging four wickets on Saturday to help Australia seal a dominant win in their three-day Ashes warm-up match against the England Academy in Marlborough.
Molineux backed up her first-innings 62-ball 65no with a second unbeaten knock of 33 as the Australians declared early on day three with a lead of 469, before the Victorian picked up 4-30 with her left-arm off-spin as Australia claimed a 240-run win.
And it’s all over one ball later! Gardner traps Gordon lbw and that seals a 240-run win for our Aussies Scores: https://t.co/RJIDmanXrR pic.twitter.com/YfW02qOx2L— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@SouthernStars) July 13, 2019
It was a brilliant all-round red-ball display from the allrounder, who was only called into Australia’s Test squad on Tuesday after impressing for Australia A – also touring the UK – in her comeback from shoulder surgery.
"(Sophie) came on and beat the bat both sides, which we talk about a lot," Australia coach Matthew Mott said.
"She’s very close (to a Test debut), I think we’ve always earmarked her as a potential to start and it was really only her injury that was why she was delayed on this tour.
"Her batting in this match was exceptional as well, she puts her hand right up there and I think the way she bowled today showed the value of being able to spin the ball and her slider asked a lot of lbw questions as well."
The performances of Australia’s spin brigade across the three-day encounter will ensure plenty of headaches for selectors between now and the start of the sole Test of the multi-format women’s Ashes in Taunton on Thursday.
Australia started day three at 6-206 and Molineux’s speedy knock, coming off just 27 deliveries, ensured their lead rapidly grew.
Ellyse Perry added 11 runs to her overnight score before holing out on 112, while Nicola Carey’s 13-ball 21 made for an entertaining first 40 minutes of play before captain Meg Lanning declared.
Right-arm speedster Tayla Vlaeminck – another in line for a Test debut after taking five wickets across two innings – made the early breakthrough, removing Bryony Smith (7), before a 98-run stand between experienced England campaigners Lauren Winfield (49) and Fran Wilson (52) frustrated the tourists.
But that changed when Molineux was thrown the ball after 31 overs. She first removed Wilson, caught at slip by Lanning, before bowling Winfield.
She added the scalps of Sophia Dunkley (5) and Danni Wyatt (31) as the Australians pressed for victory, finishing with figures of 4-30 from 15 overs.
Fellow spin-bowling allrounder Ashleigh Gardner then cleaned up the tail, taking three wickets – including that of England Academy allrounder Alice Davidson-Richards who struck a defiant 43 – making her own case for a maiden Baggy Green with her 3-37 from 12.2 overs.
Nicola Carey (1-19) and Georgia Wareham (1-43) collected a wicket apiece, while Vlaeminck’s 1-19 from four overs followed the 4-31 she took in England’s first dig.
"I actually think Nic Carey set the tone a little bit after a wayward start, she just bowled quite straight and hit a hard length, so that was good for Nic, who hasn’t had much of an opportunity on the tour so far," Mott said.
"All the bowlers bowled well, Ash (Gardner) at the end there coming around the wicket asked some really good questions as well, so that’ll give her plenty of confidence.
"It was good to see Tay steaming in and getting the ball up high around the shoulder as well.
"We really couldn’t ask for too much more, all the batters got a hit in the middle, we had to work really hard for our wickets today which was good, it was a pretty flat wicket and a good surface so we had to prise them out.
"They got off to a bit of a flier and I thought our discipline after the break was really good and we got the rewards late in the day.
"That’s pretty much the blueprint for what we want to do in the Test match."
Australia now head to Taunton, where they’ll hope to put the result of the multi-format, points-based Ashes beyond doubt in the four-day Test match.
The tourists hold a 6-0 lead after sweeping the three-game ODI leg, leaving England needing to win the Test – worth four points – and all three T20Is to prevent Australia retaining the Ashes.
CommBank Ashes Tour of England
Australia lead England 6-0
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
England ODI squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Jenny Gunn, Amy Jones, Laura Marsh, Nat Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danni Wyatt
July 2: Australia won by two wickets
July 4: Australia won by four wickets
July 7: Australia won by 194 runs
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