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Women’s Ashes: Australia beat England by nine wickets in first T20 –as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2022-01-20

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11.25am GMT

A disappointing result for England after setting out their stall beautifully with the bat, but a glorious record run chase for Australia that would have been hard to stem even without those extras. McGrath was magnificent, with bat and ball, and deservedly player of the match.

Heather Knight, “I thought the batting was outstanding for Danni and Tammy to come out and play like that. We felt like we had a good score but a little bit rusty with the ball and... she’s speaking so quickly... but basically they’ll take the positives.

That’s it from us, we’ll be back on Saturday for the second T20. Advantage Australia! Australia 2: England 0.

Updated at 11.26am GMT

11.20am GMT

Lanning can apologise to McGrath later for stranding her in the nineties. But what an astonishing innings from McGrath - all power and gorgeous placement - on top of her performance with the ball.

“The Adelaide oval, my home state, I’m super happy,” she says. “Bring on some more games so I can get out of the hotel room. It was a really nice pitch out there.”

11.16am GMT

Australia win by nine wickets and 18 balls to spare!

17 overs: Australia 170-1 (Lanning 64, McGrath 91) Knight brings herself on - at least she can share the blame. And she’ll have to: ping, pang, pong, four fours come from it. The last ball is a doughnut of a full toss which Lanning splats leg-side for four. The perfect run-chase!

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A walk in the park for the home side. Photograph: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Updated at 11.24am GMT

11.11am GMT

16th over: Australia 153-1 (Lanning 56, McGrath 82) The last throw of the dice for England - it’s Ecclestone from her lofty vantage point, suncream war-painted diagonally across her cheeks. Lanning leans back and pin-points her square past the fielders for four and, impressively, these two are still sprinting the singles. 17 needed off 24 balls.

11.07am GMT

Fifty for Meg Lanning!

15th over: Australia 143-1 (Lanning 50, McGrath 80) Ok, so what can Davies do to recover from that rogue second over? Tight for the first half then Lanning goes up and over for four. Another wide - nerves this, or lack of practise. With a push to backward point, that’s the Lanning century - not bad after being promoted to open! Oh gosh, another wide. 25 needed off 30 balls.

11.02am GMT

14th over: Australia 134-1 (Lanning 44, McGrath 78) Off the pads and over the rope - McGrath bids a fond farewell to Sciver’s first ball. And with a scampered two, that’s the century stand - of which McGrath has made an incredible 76! A couple of wides but no boundaries. 36 needed off 36 balls.

10.59am GMT

13th over: Australia 121-1 (Lanning 43, McGrath 70) Knight has to pull her aces now and flourishes Brunt. She immediately puts a stop to the boundaries, but sends down a legside full toss which the umpires call wide. And even she isn’t safe as McGrath drives, purrs. the ball past a diving mid-off to the rope.

We get a quick glimpse at Perry with a fixed grin on her face on the bench as the Aussie middle order flex their strike-rate.

10.52am GMT

12th over: Australia 112-1 (Lanning 41, McGrath 64) So.... Knight ponders with Glenn, but without breakthrough as McGrath dimisses Glenn for three fours in four balls - power drives and a well-balanced cut. Glenn puts her head in her hands and there are suddenly lots of England players marching about and pointing. She appeals for an lbw next ball, and England review in hope rather than expectation. Not a bad shout, but umpire’s call. 58 needed from 48 balls.

10.47am GMT

Maiden IT20 fifty for Tahlia McGrath!

11th over: Australia 97-1 (Lanning 36, McGrath 54) Ecclestone it is, as McGrath leans back and drives her first ball for four, past a peculiarly lumbering Heather Knight dive, and which seems to pick up speed as it runs along. McGrath is nearly stumped next ball, but the DRS shows her just back in time - by a cat’s whisker. Snappy running between the wicket brings McGrath to fifty - her debut HAlf century in T20 internationals. Beautiful innings off just 28 balls. And she’s not finished: bang, another boundary down to third man! Beautifully done.

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A wonderful fifty from Tahlia McGrath. Photograph: Matt Turner/AAP

Updated at 10.50am GMT

10.40am GMT

10th over: Australia 85-1 (Lanning 36, McGrath 42) The fifty partnership comes up in 33 balls, but Davies slows the pace - hang that thought - as McGrath frying pans her for SIX! The stewards are down on their knees in the stand searching for the ball - much as England need to search for a wicket, and quickly. Ecclestone?

10.37am GMT

9th over: Australia 73-1 (Lanning 33, McGrath 33) It’s Glenn again, one of England’s hearty compliment of pinpoint blond pony tails. Ping - Australia are on the attack. Four through cover from Lanning and through mid-off from McGrath. Then Maya Bouchier throws herself - fruitlessly - at the ball to try and prevent another boundary and lands on her knee. Yikes, she looks in trouble and the physio is sent out and does some painful looking manipulation as the players take a drink

10.30am GMT

8th over: Australia 51-1 (Lanning 28, McGrath 23) Sciver roars out an lbw shout but the ump isn’t interested and England don’t review - DRS in use in an Australian women’s series for the first time on home soil. REplays show it was umpire’s call. No boundaries but seven from the over.

A most unusual state this winter!

Updated at 10.34am GMT

10.26am GMT

7th over: Australia 51-1 (Lanning 25, McGrath 19) Smart running as Lanning feathers Glenn behind towards the rope, it is just picked up but Australia gather three. Lanning tries to cut her again and just - I think - feathers an edge which Jones can’t hold onto. The next ball is driven sumptuously through the covers.

Updated at 10.35am GMT

10.22am GMT

6th over: Australia 42-1 (Lanning 21, McGrath 14) Brunt it is for the last over of the power play, and McGrath cuts her first ball down to the rope. Knight has a (quick) word. They squeeze a few more singles, then McGrath spatulates her for four. At the same stage, England were 51-0: a sizeable advantage.

10.17am GMT

5th over: Australia 32-1 (Lanning 21, McGrath 4) Australia consolidate. Freya Davies, short run which transitions from sluggish to quick in a few steps, gets the ball. McGrath can’t punish a last-ball full toss.

10.14am GMT

4th over: Australia 26-1 (Lanning 18, McGrath 0) A crucial breakthrough for England, as Ecclestone leaps into the air in delight. McGrath, fresh from her triumph with the ball, marches in at No.3.

10.12am GMT

WICKET! Healy c Sciver b Ecclestone 7 (Australia 26-1)

Healy flicks off her toes but it is gobbled up by Sciver just off the ground at short midwicket

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Natalie Sciver celebrates catching Alyssa Healy. Photograph: Matt Turner/AAP

Updated at 10.43am GMT

10.09am GMT

3rd over: Australia 24-0 (Lanning 18, Healy 5) Tammy Beaumont is miked up - and confirms that both she and Sophie Ecclestone recently got engaged - huge congratulations all round! Australia rattle along while I’m somewhat distracted by the dog crunching something she found behind the sofa that she, with big eyes, refuses to drop. Anyway, Sciver was expensive.

10.04am GMT

2nd over: Australia 12-0 (Lanning 7, Healy 5) Oooh, Knight plumps for Ecclestone straight away - love it! Lanning snitches a boundary off an outside edge, but other than that it is all binary.

10.01am GMT

Australian innings

1st over: Australia 5-0 (Lanning 1, Healy 4) All relatively sedate, just the one four off Brunt, a leg glance racing behind Jones.

Great stat from hypocaust: 169 the highest total Australia have conceded in T20s.

Updated at 10.03am GMT

9.57am GMT

Back so soon! The players are out, the skies starting to darken and Katherin Brunt ready on the charge.

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Australia come out to bat. Photograph: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Updated at 10.11am GMT

9.43am GMT

Australia need 170 to win

Time for a quick coffee, back shortly

9.43am GMT

20th over: England 169-4 (Knight 10, Dunkley 10) And they manage it, and more: 14 off the over, with Schutt not quite on song and Knight and Dunkley able to capitalise. Dunkley cover drives the last ball for four and she and Knight run off the field pleased with their work.

9.39am GMT

19th over: England 155-4 (Knight 5, Dunkley 1) McGrath has really done the business for Lanning and now England need to try and milk another ten or so if possible from the final over.

9.38am GMT

WICKET! Jones c Harris b McGrath 4 (England 154-4)

Another one for McGrath as Jones feels for the rope and is nicely caught at long on by Harris on her return to the green and gold.

9.35am GMT

18th over: England 147-3 (Knight 4, Jones 2) Neat from King, and England pick up the five singles. She’ll be happy with 1-28 on debut, especially in a wicket-sparce match.

9.32am GMT

17th over: England 142-3 (Knight 1, Jones 0) A brilliant double strike from McGrath, as Sciver was just getting her eye in and Wyatt looked inked in for a century. Tables suddenly turned with two new batters at the crease.

Updated at 9.33am GMT

9.30am GMT

WICKET! Wyatt b McGrath 70 (England 142-3)

Wyatt misreads another swinging yorker. Stumps a-splattered!

Updated at 9.32am GMT

9.28am GMT

WICKET! Sciver b McGrath 32 (England 141-2)

A fast full one that chops the bottom of middle stump!

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Out! Photograph: Sarah Reed - CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images


Updated at 9.46am GMT

9.26am GMT

16th over: England 136-1 (Sciver 28, Wyatt 69) Carey’s first ball is a sponge pudding on leg stump and Sciver hauls it away to the boundary. It doesn’t get much better for her as Sciver off-drives with silken gorgeousness for four and picks up another eight in twos.England notch up their second fifty partnership of the match and this does not look like a side with a rusty spine.

9.22am GMT

15th over: England 120-1 (Sciver 12, Wyatt 69) Jonassen leaks an obligatory boundary - this time to Sciver, who has taken her time getting her eye in. And England prowl onward.

Five overs to go:

9.18am GMT

14th over: England 111-1 (Sciver 6, Wyatt 67) Sciver survives an lbw decision of OUT after reviewing, scraping a bottom edge onto the ball. Schutt is incisive though, and even Wyatt can’t get her away properly.

9.14am GMT

13th over: England 106-1 (Sciver 6, Wyatt 63) A run-out chance against Sciver that would have raised the finger of doom had throw been a bit tastier. The umpires then rule one short, almost despite the evidence. King then appeals a lbw that looks extremely unlikely, as the ball hits Sciver’s front pad sweeping - they go for the DRS nevertheless, which confirms the ball pitched outside off. And to end an eventful over, Wyatt ping-pongs King for six.

“Is it the Ashes,” asks Ben Bernards, “if they’re playing a T20? Sliding scale of points allocated for victories in T20, ODI and Test matches?!”

Ah yes, sorry, I meant to say. Two points each for the white ball win, with four for the Test win. Whether the players themselves put more value on a Test fifty, you’d have to ask. T20 is really the currency of the women’s game though, especially domestically.

Updated at 9.15am GMT

9.06am GMT

12th over: England 93-1 (Sciver 5, Wyatt 51) The TV cameras pull away for a discussion with the proud as punch King family. Vlaeminick’s final over is spoilt by a couple of wides. She looks a real athlete.

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Danni Wyatt ducks a bouncer. Photograph: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Updated at 9.21am GMT

9.02am GMT

Fifty for Danni Wyatt!

11th over: England 85-1 (Sciver 2, Wyatt 50) King bubbles with that wicket and she and Lanning discuss tactics after nearly every ball. Wyatt scampers a single to go to her ninth T20 fifty for England - a superb innings after a quiet start.

8.58am GMT

WICKET! Beaumont c and b King 30 (England 82-1)

King springs to her left and captures a leading edge from Beaumont for her first international wicket. She grins hugely as she’s hugged by her teammates.

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Alana King celebrates the wicket of Tammy Beaumont. Photograph: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Updated at 9.07am GMT

8.56am GMT

10th over: England 82-0 (Beaumont 30, Wyatt 49) No luck yet for any of the Aussie bowlers, as Wyatt pings McGrath for four more over the off-side. At the half way stage, England are flying.

Don’t really want to compare the men’s and women’s games but this amused me:

8.52am GMT

9th over: England 74-0 (Beaumont 28, Wyatt 43) Lanning continues ringing the changes. Vlaeminick jitters at the top of the run before sprinting in. Just four singles from the over with a careful use of angled bat.

Updated at 8.53am GMT

8.50am GMT

8th over: England 70-0 (Beaumont 26, Wyatt 41) Alana King it is now, her first over in international cricket, resplendent in iridescent blue sunglasses. She manages to stem the boundaries until the fifth ball which Wyatt sweeps delicately away.

An illuminating thread on the crowd from those that know. It certainly isn’t filling the seats - though half the ground is closed because of Covid. A distinct lack of crowd shots from the TV cameras too.

8.44am GMT

7th over: England 62-0 (Beaumont 24, Wyatt 35) Carey, very blond hair tied back in a ponytail, shoes almost kicking her backside as she runs in, and the first ball is short and fat and Wyatt pulls it away to the rope. Another boundary follows - up and over and another four in the back pocket.

8.40am GMT

6th over: England 51-0 (Beaumont 24, Wyatt 24) Now Wyatt lofts Schutt back over her head, so light on her feet, this time it bounces just before the rope. And at the end of the power play, England have sauntered to fifty.

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Danni Wyatt smacks one to the boundary. Photograph: Mark Brake/Getty Images

Updated at 8.57am GMT

8.38am GMT

5th over: England 44-0 (Beaumont 24, Wyatt 18) Jess Jonassen is Lanning’s next card and Wyatt doesn’t even bother getting her eye in, just a quick shimmy and splat - high and handsome for the first six of the innings. Another follows next ball, as she reaches one a little wider!

8.33am GMT

4th over: England 29-0 (Beaumont 23, Wyatt 4) Vlaeminick runs in out of the light into the shadows and gets absolutely hammered by Tammy Beaumont, who hauls her for three fours, each pull an improvement on the last. England will be very pleased with this.

The floodlights are powering away though the sun is still blazing. Hmmm - surely not necessary.

8.29am GMT

3rd over: England 15-0 (Beaumont 10, Wyatt 3) Meg Lanning loves to use one over spells, they say on the radio, and sure enough, here comes Tahlia McGrath. Beaumont scoops her with great disrespect and equal skill over the keeper’s head for the first bounary. Next ball she hammers back at McGrath who can’t hold onto a hard chance and they scamper the single.

“Looking forward to this game,” writes Peter Salmon. “Even though it is T20, we’re expecting the highest score by an English team in Australia for weeks aren’t we?”

Very droll!

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Tahlia McGrath with a chance of a caught and bowled. Photograph: Matt Turner/AAP

Updated at 8.49am GMT

8.23am GMT

2nd over: England 7-0 (Beaumont 4, Wyatt 2) Vlaeminck, Australia’s speed demon, opens up from the other end. Oof, Beaumont gets whalloped on the helmet by a rapid bouncer as she attempts to hook herself out of trouble. The physio comes on and gives her the once over as Beaumont smiles her trademark smile. Very next ball Beaumont taps the ball back and Vlaeminck launches into the air, fetches it, and dummies to throw the ball back to the stumps. What an athlete! Beaumont picks up three from a pull and that’s an eventful second over.

The players are wired up and Alyssa Healy is the first poor sod who has to come up with interesting insights.

Updated at 8.23am GMT

8.15am GMT

1st over: England 3-0 (Beaumont 1, Wyatt 2) A throaty lbw appeal from Megan Schutt turned down second ball, which nearly turns into a run-out chance against Beaumont. Schutt on target, her inswing working perfectly.

8.11am GMT

The teams are out, Tammy Beaumont to take the first ball.

8.09am GMT

There has been lots of great reading ahead of this Ashes series. I liked this on Sarah Glenn - showing there is a place for girls who love glamour and nails and high heels in the England team, just as much as there is the scruffy trainers and pony tail gang. Obvious, but visible role models are important.

Ah, the teams are out, a fair wind ruffling their trousers and the flags being held behind them. The Welcome to Country is being performed/spoken by Isaac Hannam. Such a beautiful sound on the didgeridoo. Wow, and a very young man belts out Advance Australia Fair.

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Here we go! Photograph: Matt Turner/AAP

Updated at 8.29am GMT

7.58am GMT

Not even a skein of a cloud - glorious .

7.56am GMT

If you haven’t got access to the television coverage , this is what they’re currently playing. A quick once over of the history of the Women’s Ashes.

7.53am GMT

Australia win the toss and will bowl

The sun is milky blue as the captains toss.

Lanning “ It looks a belter of a wicket, probably won’t change too much throughout the night. Alan King makes her debut, we’ve got Grace Harris, too, we feel like we’ve got a different look but hopefully all bases covered.”

Knight, “I think we’d have done the same. Both teams would say it has been a very strange warm-up but we feel like we’re ready to play in this match.”

7.48am GMT

Teams

Australia: Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning, Tahlia McGrath, Rachael Haynes, Ashleigh Gardner, Grace Harris, Nicola Carey, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Tayla Vlaeminck, Megan Schutt

England: Danni Wyatt, Tammy Beaumont, Nat Sciver, Heather Knight, Amy Jones, Sophia Dunkley, Maia Bouchier, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn, Freya Davies

7.43am GMT

Ellyse Perry is dropped

And so it came to pass:

7.42am GMT

One of the big questions for Australia - will Ellyse Perry make the starting XI in Adelaide? It seems an incredible question from this side of the day, but here is the lowdown on how even the best can get jostled aside.

7.37am GMT

While we’re waiting for the action to start - in half an hour or so - here is Raf Nicholson’s preview of the series.

Related: The Spin | England and Australia hit by off-field issues before Women’s Ashes series

It includes the full details of that “chaotic” preparation. “First, the schedule was rejigged at the 11th hour due to Covid, with the T20s brought forward, rendering England’s focus on red-ball practice during their camp in Oman irrelevant to the first leg of the series and leaving them with 10 days to acclimatise after landing in Australia.

“Then England’s first outdoor training session in Canberra was conducted in pouring rain. Finally, over the weekend, they played two warm-up T20 games against the England A side that has accompanied them. They lost both, despite Tammy Beaumont and Danni Wyatt being given two chances to bat in the second match.”

7.23am GMT

Preamble

Hello! And welcome to the first England v Australia Women’s T20 - the crust on the breakfast barm that is the 2022 Women’s Ashes. Two more T20s, a single Test and three ODIs follow, finishing on February 7, something of a rushed meal but a warmly-anticipated one.

England, much as their male counterparts, arrived as underdogs. If anything, though, they are even more undercooked, after a preparation period that even the ever-diplomatic Heather Knight declared “ comical.”

Covid restrictions over Christmas left players relying on their dogs to load the bowling machines and mums to pick up a bat, while the fixtures were brought forward a week to give both teams enough time to complete their quarantine period in New Zealand ahead of the World Cup.

England haven’t won an Ashes series since Charlotte Edwards was in charge in 2014 and Australia, in the swing of their domestic season, and recent winners of the T20 World Cup, have home advantage as well as momentum. They have though been hit by lack of form (looking at you Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry, Perry,Ashleigh Gardner and Alyssa Healy) and injuries to Beth Mooney, Georgia Wareham and Sophie Molineux.

Fire up the kettle - uncork that bottle - it promises to be a cracker!

Updated at 7.39am GMT

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