Australia’s hopes of derailing England’s Ashes campaign were disrupted from the start at New Road as the Barnsley Express – Katherine Brunt – opened up with a blistering spell. Brunt reduced the tourists, who had chosen to bat, to 19-3 on her way to career-best Test figures of 6-69 off 26 overs. Australia risked humiliation when a wicket for Nicky Shaw and another for Brunt left them teetering on 28-5, so in the context a sixth-wicket stand of 229 between skipper Jodie Fields (139) and Rachael Haynes (98) was nothing short of Herculean. Brunt struck a patient 27 and picked up three more wickets in the second innings to finish with what remain to this day her career-best Test match figures of 9-111. England duly went on to retain the Ashes with skipper Charlotte Edwards calming home nerves with an unbeaten fifty after her side had slipped to 39-3.
Fresh from their 4-1 success in the Twenty20 series, England enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges in this low-scoring clash as Charlotte Edwards bedded in at the Bankstown Oval to score an unbeaten 114 not out. Her expertise and durability were quite remarkable as only two other players – Jenny Gunn (33) and Holly Colvin – made double figures before Australia struggled to 159- 9 declared. After blunting Australia for 310 balls first time around, Edwards’ wicket was the prized scalp in the second innings and when the skipper fell lbw to player of the match Rene Farrell (5-23), the home side had a route back in. Chasing a target of 198 to hold the Ashes urn for the first time since 2005, debutant Sarah Elliott (81no) and captain Alex Blackwell (74) held their nerve to leave Edwards “absolutely gutted”.
England were collapsing under the weight of Sarah Elliott’s century for Ashes-holders Australia in the first multi-format series in Women’s cricket – and might have sunk from 113-6 without a trace – but for the tenacity of Heather Knight, who dug in to score 157 from 338 deliveries. The opener struck 20 fours in her first Test century and shared a match-saving seventh-wicket stand of 156 with the obstinate Laura Marsh, who batted away 304 balls for her half-century to all but end Australian hopes of bagging the princely six points on offer for a win. In the event each side walked away with a couple of points each despite Australia’s best attempts to force a result with their second declaration of the match following Jodie Fields’ unbeaten 78. England would go on to secure a 12-4 victory.
Anya Shrubsole set the standard for a potent England bowling display by that put Australia through the ringer on an increasingly cracked pitch at the WACA. The Somerset seamer struck a quick double-blow to reduce Australia to 9-2, relieving the immediate pressure on England who had found life no less difficult in creeping past the 200-mark after choosing to bat first. Shrubsole’s first innings figures of 4-51 kept the home side in check and she delivered three more telling blows second time around after Kate Cross (3-35) had put the skids under Australia’s hopes of chasing down a very modest victory target of 185. Charlotte Edwards’ side would go on to open up an unassailable lead in the series with a nine-wicket victory in the first Twenty20 international, sealing the series 10-8.
Ahead of the clash – which you can watch from 10.30am this Tuesday on #Sky Sports Ashes – we look back at some memorable performances from previous encounters…