First Test 1987

England v Australia

County Ground, Worcester: 1st – 3rd August 1987

England’s Carole Hodges won the toss and batted. It proved to be a poor decision. The Australian seamers tore through the English batting to have them all out for just 134. Only Wendy Watson, with a neat 50, provided much resistance.

I think our seamers bowled really well…Karen Brown, Griffo and Zoe Goss all used the conditions brilliantly, and yes, the pitch gave them some assistance. They were all pretty inexperienced, as was Jenny Owens making her debut as a leg spinner, and it was only Lyn Fullston who was an experienced Test bowler. England may have had some new faces but we had many more debutants.” – Australian captain Lyn Larsen

One of those debutants, Belinda Haggett, then savaged the English bowling, scoring a century on debut, showing concentration and application beyond her years after the two experienced openers, Lindsay Reeler and Denise Emerson had fallen quickly. She combined with Denise Annetts (34), also on debut and the skipper, who made 25. After a late middle order collapse, the Aussie tail wagged furiously, with runs to Sally Griffiths (28), Jenny Owens (14) and Lyn Fulltson (41*), giving Australia a grand total of 293, a lead of 159 runs.

It proved far too many for England who crumbled for just 138, the captain Hodges being the main resistance for 55. Australia won by an innings and 21 runs, Owens picking up 4-18. While the Test was allocated four days, it was over in three, an emphatic start to the series and an equally important first Test match as skipper.

Winning that Test in the way we did, my first as captain, was one of the most satisfying and memorable aspects of my career. Apart from the win, I was happy with how things panned out from a tactics point of view given Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, one of my heroes, had said in the press that I should have declared overnight… I hadn’t. My theory was, score runs when you can if you have time and wickets in hand. You never know how vital they might be later on in the game. They are also easier to score when not under pressure or chasing runs in the second innings.”

England 134 (Watson 50, Hodges 27, Brown 3-17, Goss 2-18) and 138 (Hodges 55, Court 28, Owens 4-18, Goss 2-38) lost to Australia 293 (Haggett 126, Fullston 41*, McConway 6-71)