England quickie Anya Shrubsole’s said afterwards that she felt it was “Even Stevens” at the end of Day 1; and I think she’s basically right – it is nicely poised. England are probably slightly disappointed not to have cleaned-up the tail, while the Australians will be greatly relieved to have reached 268, from a position where a sub-200 total looked a real possibility. There’s everything to play for on Day 2, including personal milestones tantalisingly in-reach for the day’s stars: Shrubsole and Jess Jonassen.
The cloudy, damp conditions which persisted all day at Canterbury were tailor-made for England’s swing-meister-in-chief, Anya Shrubsole, who took full advantage to take 4/59. Her lines were slightly off earlier on, particularly to the left-handed Bolton, but she came roaring back in her second spell, assisted by some excellent slip-catching from Heather Knight, who bagged two chances which while straightforward were never easy. Like Brunt, Shrubsole looked tired by the end of the day, but she’ll be back tomorrow and fired-up looking for that fifth wicket to get her name on the board.
Although technically a “Test débutante” Jess “JJ” Jonassen has played over 50 internationals for the Southern Stars, so she has plenty of experience which she called upon today in making 95* – her highest international score to date. It wasn’t a faultless innings; and it wasn’t a chanceless innings, but it was exactly what Australia needed to take an under-par total to something which they will feel is very defensible as the pitch starts to work more in favour of the spinners later in the Test.
The Declaration That Wasn’t
Jonassen admitted in the press conference that Australia were looking to declare around half-way through the final session. After the new ball was taken, the message was sent out to “have fun” and look to put enough runs on the board to have a dart at the English openers tonight. However, England wised up to the plan, moved the fielders back, and it wasn’t to be.
It would have been an interesting scenario though – certainly England wouldn’t ideally have wanted to face just a handful of overs tonight; but as it is, we’ll be back tomorrow to see if Jonassen can complete her century and/ or Shrubsole her five-for.