Canberra, Jan 27 (IANS) Half-centuries from Rachael Haynes (86) and captain Meg Lanning (93) steered Australia to 327/7 at stumps on day one of the womens Ashes Test at the Manuka Oval on Thursday. Meg and Rachael, who were dropped on 15 and 44 respectively, shared a 169-run partnership to rescue the hosts from 43/3 in 14.5 overs.
But by the end of the day, England had taken the duo out and then sent back Ashleigh Gardner and Tahlia McGrath on the stroke of stumps to claw back into a day dominated by Australia.
After winning the toss, England had made an excellent start in the first session.
Alyssa Healy was the first to fall for a duck, giving a faint outer edge to wicketkeeper Amy Jones off Katherine Brunt. In the very next over, Beth Mooney (3) nicked behind an outswinger off Anya Shrubsole. All-rounder Ellyse Perry was caught by Amy off a top edge for 18 off Nat Sciver.
England were in danger of bowling out Australia quickly but Meg and Rachael didn’t let that happen. With England dropping the catches, the duo motored along nicely to reach their fifties. They could have reached their centuries in Test cricket easily if not for Katherine and Nat striking after being extremely persistent.
Nat’s outswinger forced Meg to drive hard and was caught in the slip cordon by England captain Heather Knight diving to her right. In the next over, Rachael poked at a length delivery from Katherine and the thick outer edge carried to Amy behind.
Tahlia and Ashleigh then joined forces to add 84 runs off just 134 balls in the final session. Ashleigh’s pressure-easing fifty came to an end when an in-ducker from Katherine trapped her plumb in front of the stumps.
Tahlia continued to pile on the runs by hitting Kate Cross for three boundaries and was lucky to be dropped to reach her half-century and fourth of the innings. But a lapse in concentration led her to go for a drive, only for the edge to be snapped by Amy for her fifth catch in the innings, giving Nat her third scalp of the day.
Brief scores: Australia 327/7 in 97 overs (Meg Lanning 93, Rachael Haynes 86, Nat Sciver 3/41, Katherine Brunt 3/52) against England