Tammy Beaumont makes history with 208 but Australia nudge ahead in Ashes Test

Tammy Beaumont makes history with 208 but Australia nudge ahead in Ashes Test

Tammy Beaumont’s historic 208 underpinned England’s highest-ever Test total against Australia to set up what is effectively a one-innings shootout in this Women’s Ashes series opener.

After breaking Betty Snowball’s 88-year record for the highest score by an England woman in going past 189, Beaumont became her nation’s first double centurion and just the eighth female overall in Tests.

Her epic knock lasted more than eight hours across two days and included 27 fours before she was bowled after missing a sweep at Ashleigh Gardner, last out to abruptly end England’s first-innings on 463.

England lost their last four wickets for just 15 runs as Australia held a lead of 10 at the halfway mark of a contest that starts the multi-format series, which they upped to 92 after closing on 82 without loss to get their noses in front at stumps on day three.

But this one-off Test still being in the balance is largely thanks to the excellence of Beaumont, who made 201 in a warm-up against Australia A last week and registered her maiden Test ton on Friday.

Beaumont had a couple of let-offs in reaching three figures but was seldom troubled when she resumed on 100 on Saturday, her only scare coming on 152 as she overturned an lbw verdict against her after leg-spinner Alana King’s delivery was found to have fractionally pitched outside leg stump at Trent Bridge.

She settled by driving, steering then pulling Darcie Brown for three fours in an over as she and Nat Sciver-Brunt continued to pile up the runs. Sciver-Brunt might have been dismissed without adding to her overnight 41 after missing a flick at Brown and being given lbw, but she reversed the decision.

Australia’s seamers initially struggled on a flat deck so it was a surprise they waited 75 minutes into the opening session to turn to the spin of Gardner, who dashed Sciver-Brunt’s hopes of following Beaumont to a hundred when the all-rounder leaned back to cut but got a thick edge to Alyssa Healy.

  • Kiran Baluch (Pakistan) – 242 v West Indies, 2004
  • Mithali Raj (India) – 214 v England, 2002
  • Ellyse Perry (Australia) – 213* v England, 2017
  • Karen Rolton (Australia) – 209* v England, 2001
  • Tammy Beaumont (England) – 208 v Australia, 2023

Sciver-Brunt’s dismissal for 78 ended a freeflowing 137-run stand in just 187 balls with Beaumont that relied on timing and orthodoxy.

Sophia Dunkley, though, was unable to get going and the pressure told, dismissed for nine off 51 balls after lunch when she missed an uncontrolled heave at Gardner to lose her off-stump.

Having passed 150, Beaumont might have followed after missing a sweep at King as she was rapped on the front pad. Replays did not look promising but DRS was marginally in her favour.

With Gardner putting the squeeze on alongside King then slow left-armer Jess Jonassen as Australia declined to take the second new ball until the end of the 99th over, Beaumont used the sweep and moved her feet well to keep ticking over, helped by a quickfire cameo 44 on Test debut by Danni Wyatt.

Selected because of her proficiency against the slow bowlers and for her attacking nature that captain Heather Knight and head coach Jon Lewis want the England side to adopt, Wyatt fulfilled her brief with some fine drives, pulls and a couple of scoops as she drew on her considerable white-ball experience.

Nat Sciver-Brunt was out for 78 (Tim Goode/PA)
Nat Sciver-Brunt was out for 78 (Tim Goode/PA)

She edged Brown when the seamers returned while Amy Jones came and went once England had moved past 400 after tamely lofting to mid-on, but Beaumont remained and a cute late cut off Perry for four before tea saw her eclipse Snowball’s storied innings against New Zealand in Christchurch in February 1935.

From then on, she relied on singles to inch closer to 200 and got over the line in the final session after clipping Australia’s first-innings centurion Annabel Sutherland for one into the leg-side before taking off her helmet, raising her bat and soaking up the applause from a bumper crowd.

However, she was fast running out of partners as Tahlia McGrath – Australia’s eighth bowler in England’s innings – had Sophie Ecclestone lbw with a yorker, castled Kate Cross when she played down the wrong line before Lauren Filer nicked off.

While Australia added 235 for their last four wickets, England slumped in a hurry as Beaumont was finally dismissed from her 331st ball – for the fifth highest score in women’s Tests of all-time – in the search for quick runs to give impressive off-spinner Gardner figures of four for 99.

England’s seamers were leggy and expensive – having bowled 124.2 overs in the first innings – at the outset of Australia’s second dig, with Beth Mooney (33 not out) and Phoebe Litchfield (41no) putting on 50 in 55 balls.

A tough, low return chance when Litchfield was on 10 burst through Cross’ hands but Australia’s openers were otherwise untroubled. Slow left-armer Ecclestone was tight while Sciver-Brunt’s continued bowling absence because of a knee knock meant Knight turned her arm over for a couple of overs.