Heather Graham stars with bat and ball as Australia A claim first win of the series

Heather Graham scored a handy 25 off 14 with the bat to help Australia A win the opening game of the series. (Photo: Cricket.com.au)

The Australia A Women claimed the first win of the series against England A by three wickets on in a thrilling final over victory on Thursday, with Heather Graham the star of the show with bat and ball at Karen Rolton Oval.

The Perth Scorchers allrounder took 4-13 as England were bowled out for 129, before backing it up with the bat in the second innings where she scored 25 off 14 to help the Aussies chase the total down with three balls to spare.

Needing 18 off the last 12 balls, Graham struck three consecutive boundaries to take the required runs to six off nine deliveries.

She hit out a ball later, but Tess Flintoff (5no) found the boundary to seal victory with three balls to spare.

“It was a very good first win, it’s nice to always get a campaign off to a good start like that,” Graham said.

“The way that England came out and started off with the bat was extremely well and we were lucky to be able to pull that back,” she said.

The visitors got the game off to a flyer, scoring 34 runs without loss, from the opening three overs before the Australia bowlers took over and made use of their home ground advantage.

“I was lucky enough to go over and play in the hundred so I’d seen a couple of their batters before, but it was more just backing my plans on Karen Rolton.

“We’ve played so much WBBL cricket there that most of us should know what our plans are there,” the 25-year-old said.

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Australia found themselves in trouble early on when they were 2-12 in the third over, however an 80 run partnership between Georgia Voll and Phoebe Litchfield steadied the ship before Graham added quickfire runs.

“It was nice to be able to go and hit a few after a good partnership.

“I’ve been a middle order batter for a while but I haven’t had the game to clear the boundary.

“The way the Aussie girls go about it at the moment, they’re quite aggressive and we’re trying to bring that into the Aus A side as well,” Graham said.

With the Women’s Ashes running simultaneously, the allrounder’s performance could not have come at a better time. However, her focus remains purely on playing cricket rather than getting caught up thinking about selection.

“Foremost is just going out there and playing cricket, around this time it’s obviously pretty difficult, we’ve obviously had a few WNCL games missed due to COVID so it’s nice to be able to go out there and play cricket.

“For anyone, the ultimate goal is to play for Australia, but at this moment in time I’m just happy to go out there and play some cricket and perform for my team, Graham said.

Australia A and England A will continue their series tomorrow at Karen Rolton Oval in the three game T20 series before playing three one-day games against each other.

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