A MEASURED partnership between skipper Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes was the difference on day one, stabilising Australia’s first innings on day one of the Ashes Test in Canberra.
The pair joined forces with the score at 43-3, putting on 169 for the fourth wicket to move the hosts into the ascendancy.
The pair would depart in consecutive overs, though their efforts set up a run-scoring flurry for their lower order, as Tahlia McGrath and Ash Gardner added 84 runs in the final session.
Lanning and Haynes changed the course of the day after England dominated the first hour of proceedings. England captain Heather Knight won the toss at Manuka Oval, electing to send Australia in as the best plan to take the 20 wickets required for her side to hit back in the multi-format series.
The decision proved vindicated with England’s new-ball bowlers sharp in their execution, claiming Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney in consecutive overs.
Healy (0) was brought undone by a smart piece of outswing bowling by Katherine Brunt, while Mooney (3), returning from a broken jaw, was dismissed by Anya Shrubsole angling the ball away.
Perry strode out at No.4, though the right-hander was to walk back making 18, falling to a short ball from Nat Sciver. It brought the captain out to the crease, who set about to re-build, moving the hosts to 79-3 at lunch.
England failed to capitalise on multiple chances given up by Lanning, as the set pair pushed on in the middle session. Making almost 60 in the first hour after lunch, the pair both raised their bats for half-centuries, bringing up their century-partnership.
Lanning and Haynes opened the flood gates after wearing down England’s attack, bringing up the next 50 runs in 65 deliveries.
Both looked destined to reach their first Test centuries, only for the Brunt/Sciver combination to strike in consecutive overs. Still generating prodigious swing with the older ball, Lanning pushed a catch off Sciver to her opposition skipper in the slip cordon for 93, with Haynes undone by steep-bouncing delivery from Brunt that brushed the left-hander’s glove for ’keeper Jones’ fourth catch on 86.
Despite the double blow, the work of the dismissed pair set the lower order a solid platform to push the run rate higher.
Tahlia McGrath and Ash Gardner added their 84 in just 134 balls, with Gardner taking just 63 balls to reach a half-century, hitting seven fours and a six.
She was to be dismissed lbw by Brunt soon after, and McGrath will rue the loose shot off the last ball of the day that cost her wicket, just moments after bringing up a half-century of her own. (ICC Media)