Only Test 2015

England v Australia

Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, Canterbury: 11th – 14th August 2015

Meg Lanning won the toss for Australia and chose to bat at the Spitfire Ground, Canterbury, despite the foreboding sign of overcast skies.

Elyse Villani and Nicole Bolton got Australia off to a good start, passing 50 before Anya Shrubsole made the first breakthrough. Australia went from 1/66 to 2/70 when Shrubsole quickly removed the captain. After the good start from the openers Australia got a serious case of the wobbles.

Shrubsole was on fire and proceeded to remove Bolton and Ellyse Perry, when Katherine Brunt too joined the party removing Alex Blackwell. Australia were now reeling at 5/99.

It was a familiar story it seemed, for the Australian Test team in England: five wickets down and in dire straits. Yet, another familiar story, a debutant to the rescue with a willing partner. Jess Jonassen, in her first Test, was joined by Alyssa Healy. How often has a Healy come to the rescue of Australian cricket?! These two began the rescue mission, slowly at first, then picking up the odd boundary. Healy’s ability to locate the boundary in a tight situation is always welcome. Jonassen at the other end, steady, defiant and yet she too began to find the boundary.

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When Healy departed at 6/176 for 39, the two batters had forged an important partnership, not just in terms of the match but in the context of the series. At stumps, Jonassen was 95 not out and Australia were 8/268, with Kristen Beams, also on debut, showing the same fight as her partner with 24 not out at stumps. Brunt had given Jonassen a thorough going over, both in deed and manner, yet the young Queenslander stood tall.

Needing just five runs for a century on debut, Jonassen only managed four of them and fell desperately short, out for 99, LBW to Brunt.

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England had taken the new ball and Katherine Brunt was steaming in and she got hit on the pad unfortunately. It certainly saved us that innings. We were struggling a little bit and it was pretty much a match defining innings.” – Lanning

It had been a magnificent innings and more than worthy of a century. Australia, after being in the doldrums had now posted a competitive total of 274. Lanning declaring the innings at nine down after the wicket of Jonassen. Beams remained 26 not out and it would not be the last time this cricketer would serve her country so well, a stubborn tail ender who refuses to give up her wicket cheaply.

Heather Knight and Lauren Winfield opened up for England, but where Ellyse Perry had failed with the bat, she came storming in with the ball, removing Winfield after just four deliveries and then the prize wicket of Sarah Taylor first ball, putting the Australian on a hat trick. The England captain averted disaster, but only momentarily as Perry and Megan Schutt carved their way through the home team, ably supported by Sarah Coyte. Katherine Brunt, in her own act of defiance, batting at number nine, top scored for England with 39 as the hosts were downed for 168. A day earlier and Lanning and her team could not have pictured themselves 106 runs ahead on the first innings.

The overhead conditions played more of a part than the pitch did. There was a bit of weather about and the ball was swinging about a bit.”

It was a very solid lead indeed, but Lanning had two battles going on, one against England and another against the weather. The second day had already been delayed by rain and with more on the horizon, Lanning needed to calculate her second innings declaration with precision. The third day was interrupted by rain and an electrical storm, but only after a storm by England quick bowler Brunt. After top scoring for England she now came charging in, removing both Villani and Lanning for ducks in a sustained attack on the Australian top order. When Perry failed to fire again, Australia was 3/19 with only Bolton seeming to show any desire to stay.

The rush of wickets also put paid to a quick fire innings in order to pose England a target. Now the Aussies were struggling for survival. Bolton’s resistance lasted 81 balls for 25, before she too succumbed. Alex Blackwell and Jess Jonassen saw Australia to stumps, a little steadier at 4/90. But how much was enough? With only one day to play how long could Lanning afford to bat on? 66 more runs to be precise. Blackwell ended with 47 not out and Jonassen her second half century for the match with Lanning declaring at 6/156 leaving a target for England of 263.

Coach Matthew Mott had played a fair bit of cricket in England so we felt we had enough to get them out.”

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With the rain closing in, the Aussies had to find a way to break through the English batting line up and it was Sarah Coyte who started proceedings, removing Heather Knight for five. Sarah Taylor lasted four balls in the second innings and was again out to Perry for a duck, giving her the unwanted status of scoring a pair. Perry was on a one woman mission to destroy England and next removed the captain, Edwards, for one. England’s hopes of overhauling Australia’s target of 263 was now in tatters at 3/16. It didn’t improve.

Perry was on her second hat trick for the match when she removed Laura Marsh first ball. The previous delivery she’d removed top scorer, Georgia Elwiss for 48. In a six wicket display of precision and pace, Ellyse Perry destroyed England for just 101, taking 6/32 and helping Australia to victory by 161 runs. Jess Jonassen, with her 99 and 54*, was named Player of the Match.

Australia 9 dec 274 (Jonassen 99, Healy 39, Shrubsole 4-63) and 6 dec 156 (Jonassen 54, Blackwell 47*, Brunt 2-41) defeated England 168 (Brunt 39, Sciver 35, Schutt 4-26, Perry 3-38) and 101 (Perry 6-32, Schutt 2-15, Coyte 2-15) by 161 runs