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Honours even on day one of Women’s Ashes Test at Canterbury

Tuesday 11th August 2015

Test debutant Jess Jonassen hit an unbeaten 95 to ensure honours finished even as Australia went in at stumps on 268 for eight after 97 overs on the opening day of the Kia Women’s Test in Canterbury.

Kent all-rounder Laura Marsh took 2/42 in 21 overs including eight maidens alongside county colleagues Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway.

Somerset seamer Anya Shrubsole was the pick of the bowlers with 4/59 including a mid-afternoon 37-ball purple patch of four for 27 either side of lunch.

Batting first after Meg Lanning had called heads to win the toss in this, the first fully-televised women’s Test, Australia struggled to lay bat on ball against England’s opening pair of Katherine Brunt and Shrubsole.

In overcast and humid conditions both England seamers got the ball to swing and nip around off the seam at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

Shrubsole, the Somerset right-armed seamer, excelled either side of lunch to seemingly knock the stuffing out of the Australian middle-order. Yet Jonassen had other ideas.

Fielding after losing the toss England, despite three concerted lbw appeals, took 21.5 overs to make their opening breakthrough and part an Australian opening stand between Elyse Villani (33) and debutant Nicole Bolton that had added 66.

It needed a good delivery to outsmart Villani, a tall, upright right-hander with a sound technique, who pushed at one from Shrubsole that held its line off the pitch to feather the outside edge and fly to slip.

Four runs on, Australian skipper Meg Lanning (3) sparred with a near identical delivery to be caught smartly once more by Heather Knight, low to her left at slip.

Bolton (36), the left-handed opener who was also making her Test debut for the tourists, had her leg stump pegged back by an in-swinger that sailed through the gate, while Perry, the right-hander, nicked a defensive push into her pad, allowing England keeper Sarah Taylor to nip around from behind the stumps and snaffle a looping chance.

Having earned little or no luck during her two, excellent spells on the opening session Katherine Brunt picked up a deserved wicket when she snared Alex Blackwell lbw with an in-ducker that sent the right-hander packing for only seven on her 200th international appearance for Australia.

Soon after tea Laura Marsh, the Kent spinner playing on her home ground, removed Alyssa Healy (39) to end a sixth-wicket stand with Jonassen that had added 77 from 129 balls,

Healy, who had been dropped at point off a sliced drive when on 21, played across one from Marsh that pitched on the stumps and straightened to make it 176 for six.

Soon after, Sarah Coyte (3) sparred outside off at one from Kate Cross to be caught by Taylor stood up to the stumps then, with her score on 11, Megan Schutt swished across the line against Marsh to go lbw and make it 206 for eight – it would prove to be England’s last success of the day.

Jonassen, a 22-year-old Queensland right-hander, one of three to receive their ‘baggy greens’ prior to the toss, batted a shade over four hours to frustrate England.

In fading light and with the floodlights on, Jonassen and debutant Kristen Beams (24*) dug in thereafter for an hour-and-a-half to thwart Edwards’s side with an unbroken ninth-wicket stand worth 62 and with power to add on day two. Jonassen hitting 10 fours in her 186-ball stay.

Before the start of play, Australia awarded caps to Bolton, Jonassen, and Beams, while Georgia Elwiss received her England cap from skipper Charlotte Edwards.

Elwiss was called up at the 11th hour after Jenny Gunn’s withdrawal. The experienced seamer had woken up suffering with a stiff neck.

Click here for the scorecard