Lauren Winfield found some much-needed form ahead of the Women’s Ashes Test, as she made 82 off 161 balls on the first day of England’s 3-day Day-Night warm-up in Sydney.
However, wider questions about England’s batting fragility raised themselves once again, as they were bowled out for 231 by a young Australia XI – the next highest score after Winfield was Tammy Beaumont’s 28 off 74 balls, with Sophie Molineux and Lauren Smith taking 3 wickets apiece, as the Aussies took advantage of the “flexible” warm-up playing conditions to use 11 bowlers in the 71 overs England faced!
Katherine Brunt soon got stuck into the Australia XI’s reply – taking two wickets in two balls in her second over. By the close, the Aussies had recovered to 82-4, with Sophie Ecclestone and Laura Marsh taking the other wickets to fall.
England made one change to their batting order – bringing in Georgia Elwiss for Fran Wilson; and one change to the bowling – Laura Marsh replacing Alex Hartley. In terms of final Test selection, both are potentially “safety-first” all-rounder choices – with Elwiss bolstering the bowling with a few overs of medium pace, and Marsh offering a bit more batting at the tail of the innings.
However, it is quite possible that Hartley in particular could still play in the Test, in place of Ecclestone – it would be a big ask of either left-armer to play 7 days of cricket in 10 (this 3-day warm-up and the 4-day Test) so maybe England are just resting Hartley and the two will swap-out for the Test?
Kate Cross, meanwhile, was also named on England’s team-sheet, but did not bat or bowl on Day 1, reinforcing the impression that she is likely to play only if injuries intervene in England’s plans.