Halfway point of the #WomensAshes sees the @SouthernStars edge ahead!

Despite not being able to get over to Perth to watch the Southern Stars begin their campaign to regain the Ashes, I have been making full use of the coverage on ABC Grandstand Digital and the linking of the commentary with the live stream through Cricket Australia website.

For those that haven’t really been following the ball-by-ball coverage I thought that I would provide a cheat’s guide to what has happened so far in the Test match to bring you up to speed with the goings on so far.

The toss:
Charlotte Edwards had the first win of the Ashes Series winning the toss, electing to bat

Selections:
There were 3 debutants for this one-off Test.

Elyse Villani came into the Australian side at the expense of Rachel Haynes who opened the batting in the Test match played in England in the last series. Whilst I am really happy for ‘Junior’, who was worked hard to make her way back into the team, I do spare a thought for Nicole Bolton who was named 12th.

Bolton has been in form during the domestic season, and after her 85 and 2/18 in the Tour Match, I thought she had done enough to earn her Test debut. In my opinion she is better suited to the longer format. By going with Villani the Southern Stars indicated their intention of wanting a result this match and the vital 6 points that comes with it.

The English team went with 2 debutants, Nat Sciver and Kate Cross. Sciver burst onto the scene in the 2013 women’s Ashes clash and played a crucial role lower down the order in the ODIs and T20s.

Cross was selected ahead of Georgia Elwiss as the third quick bowler. I expect this was because the English want to utilise the bounce and pace of the WACA pitch, sending a similar message in selections that the Australians did, wanting the firepower to pick up the 20 wickets to ensure the win for them.

Day 1 Key Moments:

At the conclusion of day 1 I would have to say that honors were even as England fought back in the last 6 overs to pick up the 2 key wickets.

Key highlights during the day were:

• Holly Ferling in her first over just after an hour of play took the crucial wicket of Heather Knight. This fired up the Southern Stars, and saw them pick up another 2 wickets as England lost 3 for 4 runs.

• The experience of Lydia Greenway and Arran Brindle stopped the flow of wickets as they put on 64 runs to get take England from 3-32 to 4-96.

• Nat Sciver walked to the crease and showed everyone why she is being touted as the next best thing for England. She combined with Brindle to put on another 50 plus run partnership.

• Rene Farrell, returning to the Southern Stars after a 3-year hiatus, picked up the key wicket of Brindle on the last ball before tea. This swung momentum to the Southern Stars as they finished off the last 5 wickets for 47 runs.

• The Southern Stars had 6 overs to contend with before the end of the days play and Anya Shrubsole brought England right back into the game by picking up the key wickets of Villani and Meg Lanning.

Day 2 Key Moments:

• The first session went to England as Kate Cross picked up her first Test wicket by dismissing Jessica Cameron for 5 and Alex Blackwell for a duck. Soon after Brunt picked up Sarah Elliott to have Australia 5-37.

• Jodie Fields played a crucial role in a counter punch by taking on the English bowlers, with Brunt being hit for four 4’s in one over. It must have unsettled her as she was soon taken off for bowling 2 dangerous deliveries and not allowed to return for the rest of the innings.

• The pitch seemed to flatten out and despite Cross picking up her third wicket of Fields for 43, Perry and Osborne chipped away slowly at the deficit to put on the highest partnership so far in the match of 85 runs.

• England could have been in the box seat when Greenway put down Osborne on 2 with the score 102. Osborne ensured that England paid for that as she went on to score a patient 40 vital runs to ensure Australia passed England’s total, eventually being bowled out for 207 with a lead of 6 runs.

• Charlotte Edwards injured her knee attempting to field a ball and was off the field for the most of the afternoon, meaning that the Match Referee deemed that she would be unable to bat until No. 7.

• With a new England opening pair coming out to face a few uncomfortable overs it was too much with Farrell picking up 2 wickets and Perry 1 wicket to have England in a precarious position of 3-18 at close of play with an overall lead of 12 runs.

Performers so far:
• Arran Brindle 68
• Nat Sciver 49 on debut
• Rene Farrell 3-41 off 18.1 overs in the 1st innings
• Ellyse Perry 3-41 off 22 overs & 71 runs to rescue Australia’s Innings
• Jodie Field’s 43 runs at an impressive rate strike rate of 60.56 compared to everyone else
• Anya Shrubsole 4-51 off 19 over and the key wickets late on Day 1
• Kate Cross 3-35 off 18 overs on debut

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