An unbeaten innings of 85 from Sarah Taylor put England in a position to claim a “points victory” in their day-night Test warm-up against a young Australia XI in Sydney.
Having come in with England in slightly dicey water at 91-4, Taylor built partnerships with Nat Sciver (42), Fran Wilson (45) and Katherine Brunt (43*) allowing the tourists to declare on 305-7 – an unassailable lead of 265, with 40-odd overs remaining in the day.
With Katherine Brunt rested from the attack, Kate Cross opened the bowling with Anya Shrubsole; but the target – in excess of 6-an-over – was just too big to tempt the Australians into a real chase, and they played instead for the draw – eventually closing on 182-7, after a late 3-fer for Heather Knight had made things a little bit interesting in the last couple of overs.
In terms of positives from the match as a whole, England avoided defeat (which looked a possibility at one stage) and there were runs for Winfield, who has struggled of late, and Taylor of course.
Whether anyone’s performances will have changed anything in terms of selection is an open question – Winfield was never likely to be dropped even if she hadn’t made a score here; but perhaps Fran Wilson, with her 45, has pushed the case that her runs might be worth more than Georgia Elwiss’s handful of medium-pace overs? (Elwiss didn’t take a wicket, and made 13 and 8 with the bat.)
Given that Sophie Ecclestone did not bowl at all in the 2nd innings (after bowling a lot of overs in the 1st), we’d guess that she was being rested and therefore will play in the Test, probably alongside Laura Marsh.
Probable England Test Team: