England remove Australia’s openers before lunch on opening day of Women’s Ashes
Lauren Filer made an eye-catching start to her England career, snaring Australia opener Beth Mooney in the opening session of the one-off Test that kick-starts the multi-format Women’s Ashes series.
Filer was held back until the 17th over and almost had the dream start after getting an lbw verdict on Ellyse Perry from her first ball, only for an undetected edge to reprieve Australia’s batting linchpin.
But Filer vindicated her selection ahead of Issy Wong as her extra pace continued to cause issues and the tall seamer had her maiden international wicket when Mooney slashed to gully on 33 at Trent Bridge.
Kate Cross made the initial breakthrough to end a promising innings from Phoebe Litchfield, out for 23 on her first Test knock after neglecting to review an lbw verdict that would have missed off-stump.
England might have seen the back of Mooney on nine and 19 but missed tough chances in the field while their seamers were on the whole expensive as Australia raced to 100 for two after winning the toss.
Cross was entrusted with the first delivery and served up a no-ball in an opening over which yielded nine runs but she found a hint of sideways movement alongside Lauren Bell on a green-tinged pitch.
There were few alarms for the elegant Litchfield or the more cagey Mooney until Cross’ eventful fifth over. Cross was unable to cling on to a one-handed return catch off Mooney but found some succour after Litchfield shouldered arms to one that straightened and struck the left-hander’s front pad.
Litchfield eschewed a review as she trudged off and Hawk-Eye showed the ball would have sailed past off-stump.
In walked Perry with a titanic 75.2 average in this format. England have been on the receiving end of Perry’s might in the past but the hosts brought on their trump card in a bid to stifle the all-rounder.
Filer’s first ball clattered into Perry’s pads but the on-field lbw decision was overturned because of a thick inside edge discerned on replay. But Filer’s pace continued to hurry Perry in her opening over.
But it was Mooney, the top-ranked batter in ODIs and second on the list in T20s, who provided Filer with her first England wicket after a back-foot punch took the edge and carried to Cross at gully. It was a welcome wicket after Test debutant Danni Wyatt put down a diving chance off the Australia opener.
Perry (31 not out) and Tahlia McGrath (11no) ushered Australia to the lunch interval with no further alarms.