Recent Match Report – AUS WMN vs ENG WMN Only Test 2023

Australia 328 for 7 (Perry 99, Gardner 40, Sutherland 39*, Ecclestone 3-71, Filer 2-65) vs England

Lauren Filer lived up to her “impact bowler” billing on debut as she and Sophie Ecclestone combined to redress the balance on the opening day of the Women’s Ashes Test after Ellyse Perry had led Australia’s dominance for swathes of the game.

Perry had done what she does best for Australia in compiling another excellent Test innings after Australia were 83 for 2 following the loss of openers Beth Mooney and Test debutant Phoebe Litchfield. But she fell agonisingly short of her third Test century when Filer had her caught at gully on 99. That came after Ecclestone took two wickets in three deliveries – including Alyssa Healy for a second-ball duck – leaving Australia on 238 for 6.

A crowd of 5,545 had thinned considerably after an hour-and-a-half rain delay which straddled the tea break but, during an elongated evening session bathed in sunshine, those remaining saw Annabel Sutherland and Ashleigh Gardner put on a 77-run partnership for the seventh wicket to steady Australia once more.

But when Lauren Bell removed Gardner shortly after England took the second new ball, this winding contest took another turn. Ecclestone bowled 28 overs on the trot – the lunch and rain stoppage falling within that spell – and ended the day with 3 for 71 and Filer 2 for 65.

Emphasising Australia’s batting depth, Gardner crashed the only six of the day down the ground off the part-time leg-spin of Sophia Dunkley on the final over before the second new ball became available, but then Bell’s inswinger found Gardner’s outside edge and wicketkeeper Amy Jones did the rest. Australia closed on 328 for 7 with Sutherland unbeaten on 39.

Playing her 11th Test and record 10th Ashes series, Perry was excellent again for Australia. She pulled the short ball to the boundary, drove beautifully through the covers – including Ecclestone’s first ball – and cracked a 76mph/123kph Filer delivery through backward point among her 15 boundaries. Now averaging 77.36 in Tests she had scored a century at Taunton in 2019 and an unbeaten double-hundred in Sydney in 2017.

On this occasion, Perry brought up her fifty threading a four off Kate Cross between second slip and gully, followed immediately by another whipped off the pads through midwicket and shared a 119-run partnership with Tahlia McGrath, who produced some gorgeous strokeplay through the covers herself in reaching a well-paced half-century from 67 balls. It took a gem from left-arm spinner Ecclestone to remove McGrath, one that angled in and turned past the batter’s forward defence to clatter into the top of middle stump.

As expected Litchfield opened alongside Mooney, and played well during her innings of 23, including a deftly carved four through cover point off the fifth legitimate ball of the match after Cross twice overstepped in the first over. Litchfield steered Bell effortlessly to the left of a diving gully and produced a similar shot off Cross so that 12 of her first 15 runs had come in boundaries.

Cross missed a tricky caught-and-bowled chance off Mooney, on 9 at the time, and saw her next ball timed with aplomb through extra cover by Litchfield. But Cross recovered when she had Litchfield out immediately after with a ball that pitched on a length outside off and moved in a touch before striking the front pad. It was probably inexperience which resulted in Litchfield departing swiftly without consulting the DRS. Hawk-Eye showed that the ball was missing the stumps just outside off.

Mooney survived again on 19 when Cross drew a thick outside-edge which flew towards gully where a diving Danni Wyatt – making her Test debut after 245 white-ball games for England – couldn’t hold on. But it was Filer who made the next breakthrough.

Filer thought she had a wicket with her first ball, as did umpire Sue Redfern, who adjudged Perry out lbw when she was on 10. But Perry had no hesitation in calling for the DRS, which confirmed she had got a big inside-edge onto her back pad. Filer’s second ball was just back of a length in the fourth-stump channel and had Perry bending back, fencing and missing as she was beaten for pace.

Filer’s raw pace was impressive and, with her 18th ball in international cricket, she removed Mooney, for 33 with a 74mph/119kph delivery that climbed on her and hit the edge near the splice before flying to gully where Cross held well.

Left-hander Jess Jonassen batted up the order at No. 5 after scoring an unbeaten 173 against England for Australia A in their three-day warm-up match in Derby last week. But she provided Ecclestone’s second wicket when she gloved a catch to Tammy Beaumont at short leg and was given out upon England’s review.

Ecclestone, only two years Filer’s senior but 110 matches more experienced, then removed Healy playing inside the line of one that clattered into off stump.

Three overs later, Perry tried to cut Filer’s short ball as it continued to rise on her and just cleared Nat Sciver-Brunt at gully. Next ball, however, Filer bowled a fuller one outside off stump and as Perry attempted to drive she sent it to Sciver-Brunt, to Filer’s great delight.

Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo

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