Women's Ashes Tour Match
Young guns push Test cases on day one
Beth Mooney scored a ton while two uncapped Victorians pressed their claims for a spot in Australia's Test XI on day one of a three-day warm-up
Laura Jolly at Marlborough College, Marlborough
12 July 2019, 06:41 AM AEST
Beth Mooney struck a brilliant century while Sophie Molineux and Tayla Vlaeminck pushed their cases for Test debuts to put Australia on top at stumps on day one of their red-ball Ashes warm-up against the England Academy.
The coloured clothes were swapped for the whites on Thursday as Australia turned their attention to the sole Test of the seven-game multi-format Ashes, where they have a chance to put the result of the series beyond doubt, already leading 6-0 after taking out all three ODIs.
And the signs were good as Mooney’s 101 retired and Molineux’s rapid unbeaten 65 helped Australia to 5-360 declared, before Tayla Vlaeminck’s sheer pace caused no end of problems for the locals in the fading light, the right-arm quick striking twice as England Academy ended the day 3-49.
The nature of the three-day warm-up at the picturesque Marlborough College – a boarding school whose alumni includes the Duchess of Cambridge – meant Australia had the flexibility to use their entire 15 player squad.
With batter Elyse Villani deployed to join Australia A for their own red-ball encounter with England beginning Friday, the approach taken to the remaining 14 Australians offered some clues to how selectors are thinking ahead of next week’s sole Test of the multi-format Ashes.
Alyssa Healy joined Nicole Bolton at the top of the order – given a chance to prove she could continue her 18-month long purple patch against the red ball – and you’d have been forgiven for thinking it was a limited-overs match early as Healy raced out of the blocks.
She found the boundary six times before edging Kirstie Gordon to first slip, her 39-ball innings ending on 33.
Conversely, Bolton made a much more cautious start – coming off scores of 2, 1 and 4 in the ODI leg of the Ashes – and looked scratchy early.
But time in the middle paid off for the Western Australian as she started to find her rhythm. A half-century beckoned for Bolton, only for the left-hander to attempt an uncharacteristic heave off Gordon’s bowling, picking out Danni Wyatt on the boundary as she departed for 41.
Australian captain Meg Lanning (14) survived several early lbw shouts before picking out England Academy captain Lauren Winfield at slip, while Ellyse Perry (30) looked solid before edging Ellie Threlkeld down the leg side.
Her dismissal left Australia looking shaky at 4-127, before middle-order pair Mooney and Rachael Haynes came together in a brilliant 99-run stand.
Haynes retired at tea on 47 due to a minor niggle, with Australia 4-229, and when Molineux joined Mooney the runs started to flow thick and fast.
Mooney’s half-century had come in 103 deliveries but her second fifty took just 35 as she brought up her century with a boundary, retiring immediately after on 101.
Molineux, who until Tuesday wasn’t even part of Australia’s Test squad, showed why selectors had taken the leap of faith in calling her out of the Australia A group.
Sent out to bat ahead of fellow allrounder and potential Test debutante Ashleigh Gardner, Molineux found the boundary 10 times in a rapid-fire 65 not out from just 62 deliveries – making a serious case for a maiden Baggy Green in Taunton next week.
When Gardner (8) was bowled by Freya Davies, Lanning called Molineux in, ending the Australian innings on 5-360(dec).
Experienced England campaigner Lauren Winfield and Bryony Smith put on 33 runs for the first wicket before Perry got the breakthrough, Nicola Carey hanging on to a juggling catch at slip as Winfield departed for 16.
With eight overs remaining Lanning threw Vlaeminck the ball. The 20-year-old quick had terrorized her teammates in the nets at Tuesday’s session and she wasted no time replicating that pace in the middle, getting the better of Smith (14) with just her second delivery, the Academy opener edging behind to Healy.
She struck again before stumps with a fierce delivery that reared up at Fran Wilson (8), flying off the edge and into the safe hands of Jess Jonassen.
Australia’s bowlers will look to continue pressing their cases for inclusion in the Test XI when day two of the three-day encounter gets underway on Friday.
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