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Cricket - 15. February 2008.

Report from day one of the Ashes Test

Report from day one of the Ashes Test

England Women got off to a fantastic start as they look to retain the women’s Ashes in the Test match at The Bradman Oval, dismissing Australia for 154 in their first innings. Isa Guha was the star of the day taking 5-40 from 18.5 overs. Openers Beth Morgan and Caroline Atkins saw the visitors through to stumps on day one with England 22-0.

Captain Charlotte Edwards, opting for the traditional dress by wearing her Paul Costelloe England blazer over her whites, won the toss and put the Australians into bat on an overcast day in Bowral.

England’s opening pair of Nicky Shaw and Guha got off to a flyer with Guha clean-bowling Alex Blackwell with her second ball for one. In front of a lively crowd of 1,000, she went on to take the wickets of Lisa Sthalekar (2) trapped lbw, Shelley Nitschke (4), debutante Kirsten Pike (10) and the key wicket of Australian captain Karen Rolton for 34.

Rolton and Nitschke were both dismissed by a catch from Claire Taylor in the gulley, while Pike was clean-bowled as she went for the big shot.

Guha and Shaw bowled almost unchanged the entire first session. Holly Colvin was brought on first change and bowled in partnership with Beth Morgan, just before lunch.

Australia found themselves struggling at 46-3 at lunch, after Shaw had chipped in with the wicket of Melissa Bulow, who fell to a diving catch by England’s keeper Sarah Taylor.

In the second session, Australia lost a further three wickets. Guha claimed the two of Nitschke and Rolton, while a mix up with the batters saw Elysse Perry, also on debut run out for 21.

At tea, Australia were 122-6 with Kate Blackwell on 34 not out and scoring steadily for the hosts. England rattled through the remaining Australian batters in 18.5 overs after tea.

Leonie Coleman, the third of four debutantes for Australia, was the first to go in the final session for 13. She was caught at mid-wicket by Lydia Greenway off the bowling of Laura Marsh as she attempted a sweep shot, but instead found a top edge.

In the next over Blackwell (45) fell to a direct hit from Holly Colvin. Blackwell had pushed the ball to mid-on and attempted the quick single, but was caught short by Colvin’s fantastic bit of fielding. Sarah Andrews, coming in at nine was Shaw’s second victim as she got an outside edge and was caught by Sarah Taylor.

Fittingly Guha got the final wicket, that of Pike, and Australia were all out for 154.

Australia’s bowlers, including Emma Sampson, Australia’s fourth debutante, who went for just nine from six overs, all bowled tightly in the final stage of the day to restrict England to an unbeaten 22.

With 16 overs remaining in the day Atkins and Morgan batted sensibly to see England through to stumps. Atkins was 14 not out and Morgan finished on seven not out.

After the game Guha commented: “It was a great toss to win with the overcast conditions assisting our bowling. This allowed us to penetrate the top order and put pressure on Australia.

“Nicky supported me really well, which enabled a bowling partnership to form. We were also backed up really well in the field taking all catches that came to us as well as crucial run-outs.

“I’m obviously delighted to take five wickets. It’s nice to be back in the side and taking wickets for my country. We’re well aware that it’s only day one and we’ve got another nine sessions to perform well in. Roll on tomorrow.”

Edwards added: ”I’m delighted that on the first day of an Ashes Test match we’ve managed to bowl Australia out for 154.

“It was gutting to lose Jenny (Gunn), but the way all the bowlers responded, especially Isa, was a great effort. They were supported really well in the field and it was great to beat the day unbeaten on 22.

“We know Australia are going to come back at us hard over the next few days, but we’re up for the challenge.”

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