A recap of Australia Women's first pink-ball Test

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safari
29 Sep 2021 | 12:31 AM
authorcricket.com staff

A recap of Australia Women's first pink-ball Test

Ellyse Perry recording-shattering double ton, Tammy Beaumont's defiance, and the other great moments from the match

Australian Women's team skipper Rachael Haynes was not too excited before arriving in Sydney for the maiden women's day-night Test in early November, 2017 against England. They were cusp of retaining the Ashes having won the ODI leg of the multi-format series 2-1, but preparations for their maiden pink-ball Test were less than an ideal. Their practice match at Canberra was a fluctuating mess with batters, who seemed unfazed under the sun, were queueing up to the pavilion once the floodlights switched on.

"From our point of view we don't want to think about it too much either way," Haynes said, terming pink-ball cricket was 'overhyped'. "We want to just go out there and focus on the contest that is happening at the time."

England got a surface far worse for their practice game at Blacktown where the pitch took chunks off the pink ball which produced no swing for the quicks and were peeved to see a flat, dry pitch for the Test at the North Sydney Oval. Perhaps, the harsh build-up made things better when skipper Heather Knight won the toss and elected bat. Knight scored 62 and while opener Tammy Beaumont added 72 on the first day in their partnership of 104 runs for the second wicket after debutant Tahlia McGrath removed Lauren Winfield-Hill early.

Perry, Jonassen lead fightback with the ball

After Amanda-Jade Wellington broke England's big partnership by dismissing Beaumont, Perry and Jess Jonassen took over the reins for the remainder of the night. Left-arm spinner Jonassen began dismantling the middle-order by trapping Knight leg before with a quick delivery which sneaked past an attempted sweep. Soon after the dinner break, she removed Nat Sciver for 18 for another lbw. 

Perry, who extracted swing with the new ball, snapped a building partnership between Georgia Elwiss and keeper Sarah Taylor in back-to-back overs. After finishing with 2-48 at stumps, which helped Australia reduce England to 235/7, Perry removed Laura Marsh for a keeper early on Day 2 to restrict the visitors to 280 all out in their first innings.

Perry's historic double-ton

Wickets kept tumbling for Australia when they began their first innings with debutant Sophie Ecclestone's left-arm spin causing them all sorts of problems under the lights. Perry, however, was batting on a different plane. She was stout in her defence and ruthless against anything loose, often threading the ball through packed fields. She and skipper Haynes soaked up hours of hostile bowling from the England quicks for a stand of 73 for the fifth wicket. Perry ended the second day unbeaten on 70 with Alyssa Healy for company.

On the third day, the Australians turned the tide as Perry batted with rarified ease. Until then, she had zero international hundreds and scored a total of 219 Test runs from 10 innings. She not only got to the elusive three-figure mark, but became the first Australian woman in 25 years to score a Test double-hundred. 

Her 213 not out remains the highest individual score for Australia in women's Tests and third-highest overall behind Kiran Baluch's 242 against West Indies and Mithali Raj's 214 against England. After staring at an massive deficit at the beginning of the day, the Aussies walked off with a lead of 168 when Haynes declared at 448/9.

Knight, Elwiss rescue England

As the pitch wore out, Australian spinner extracted turn but batting also became easier for the visitors. After ending third day on 40/0, England lost openers Beaumont and Winfield-Hill early on the final day. But skipper Knight (79 not out off 220 balls) and Georgia Elwiss (41 off 190 balls) batted throughout the fourth day, wearing out the hosts. To keep her strike bowlers fresh, Haynes distributed the workload to part-timers Nicole Bolton, Elyse Villani and herself, but to no avail. The captains shook hands after 88 overs were bowled on day four as England reached 206/2. Perry, unsurprisingly, bagged the Player of the Match award.

Australia will be the host for a day-night Test once again when the play India at the Carrara Oval from September 30 - October 3, where an international cricket match will be played after a gap of three years. The last match at the ground was a T20I between the men's teams of Australia and South Africa, while First-Class matches haven't been played at the venue since 1992.

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Australia WomenEngland WomenEllyse PerryTammy BeaumontHeather KnightMegan Schutt

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