The Multi- Format Ashes series shifted to the oldest and richest format of the game in Canberra with Day one providing plenty of moments that were kind to either nation, however, Australia is the one in pole position.
England won the toss and chose to bowl first and reaped early rewards with two wickets in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Early wickets for England saw them in full control before a 169-stand partnership from Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning led the Aussies to a comfortable position.
Lanning and Haynes were then dismissed in quick succession saw England regain some control, but overall Australia will be the happier dressing room as regular innings and contributions down the order saw Australia reach 7/327 at stumps.
Here are the moments that mattered from Day 1 in Canberra:
Haynes taking the Brunt of it
The opening battle between Rachael Haynes and Katherine Brunt grew with intensity as each over passed. England placed all kinds of pressure on the Australian batters, taking the wickets of Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney within four overs.
Haynes, alongside Ellyse Perry, was immediately tasked with alleviating momentum, a job made difficult with the shape of delivery that Brunt was able to create.Embed from Getty Images
Full deliveries in particular appeared effective, finding edges, and creating opportunities which led to the demise of Healy and Mooney.
The Haynes/Brunt battle showcased a series of play and misses alongside quality stroke play which became more prevalent as the Australian opener gained confidence and began playing her strokes.
Perry pulling up short
With the pressure to perform on her now more than she’s ever felt in her career, Ellyse Perry didn’t do herself any favours with a risky attempt to play a short delivery ending with her walking back to the dugout.
Already two wickets down in the first session, Perry’s attempted pull shot right after the first drinks break handed England their third wicket of the morning and bragging rights over the first session.
After making 18 runs from 33 balls, the 34th delivery was the shortest length that Perry faced in her innings. The ball found the top edge of the bat with England keeper, Amy Jones, able to cover the ground and take the catch.
Despite still averaging, 71.1 runs in test cricket, Perry’s international form has come into question as she was dropped from the Australian T20 XI.
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Sloppy slips cost England chances
On the brink of lunch on the first day, Australia should have been four wickets down. Bringing Sophie Ecclestone on to bowl the final over of the session, Australia piled on nine runs with some aggressive shots to start the over and not let Ecclestone settle.
The fourth ball of the over landed a bit fuller in length, finding the edge of Lanning’s bat, and providing a simple catching opportunity for the English captain at first slip. Dropped on 14.
A few overs after lunch, another opportunity came from the bowling of Katherine Brunt. A good length delivery to Haynes, adding to their debate with bat and ball, was put down in the slips again, but this time by the hands of Brunt’s partner, Nat Sciver.
Haynes, dropped on 44, piled further frustration on the England camp by going on to make 86 from 180 balls.
Lanning locks in at five
In order to fit in all the batting firepower Australia has in their stocks, Lanning had shuffled down the order to five, a position she’s unfamiliar within the Test and longer formats.
Heading to the crease when emergency alarms were sounding for the Australian camp, Lanning provided a high quality, captain’s knock in her 150th match leading the country.Embed from Getty Images
Lanning toppled her previous best Test score of 58 in the second session, helping Haynes completely reverse the narrative of the day into Australia’s favour.
In a textbook display of balance distribution, Australia’s captain didn’t shy away from using the pace of the ball to her advantage with a range of cut shots and leg glances resulting in scores behind square of the wicket.
Haynes and Lanning’s 169 run stand was the 10th highest partnership by and Australian pairing in Women’s Tests.
In a burst of energy from England, Lanning fell just 7 short from a maiden test century after facing 170 deliveries.
Momentum burst falls flat as Gardner, McGrath tick along
After a partnership that completely changed the narrative of the first day, Meg Lanning departing shy of a century, the England team was up and about, the crowd chanting as the bowler ran in.
A sense of belief that the game could be back in England terms after Rachael Haynes was also dismissed immediately after.
Suddenly England supporters were willing their country on to keep going, demanding a third wicket in quick succession, however, Tahlia McGrath and Ashleigh Gardner extinguished those cheers before long.
The pair cruised to a 50-run stand, being allowed to play from within their own comfort zone in a proactive fashion.
Not long after Gardner raced away to bring up her personal milestone of 50 runs, putting the wagon wheel graph into full use, scoring runs all over the field. Even after she was out via LBW, McGrath went on to score yet another half-century herself, continuing her magnificent form in her breakout summer.
McGrath edged behind on what would be the last ball of the day for 52, giving Amy Jones her fifth catch of the innings and leaving Australia at 7/327 at stumps.
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