Women’s Ashes: Dropped catches hurt England as Australia take control of Test in Canberra

Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning
Haynes and Lanning both fell short of their first Test centuries
Women’s Ashes, one-off Test, Manuka Oval (day one of four)
Australia 327-7 Lanning 93, Haynes 86; Brunt 3-52, Sciver 3-41
England Yet to bat

Missed chances hurt England as Australia took control of the crucial Ashes Test on day one in Canberra.

After being dropped on 14, Australia captain Meg Lanning hit 93 and opener Rachael Haynes, also put down on 44, made 86 to steer Australia to 327-7.

The hosts had been in trouble at 4-2 and later 43-3 after England made an excellent start with the ball.

Alyssa Healy and Beth Mooney fell inside four overs and Ellyse Perry was caught off a top edge for 18, a rare failure for the imperious all-rounder in Test whites.

However, Lanning and Haynes capitalised on their let-offs in a dominant partnership worth 169.

They looked to be easing towards maiden Test centuries when Lanning edged Nat Sciver to slip and Haynes gloved Katherine Brunt behind four balls later.

That gave England hope of a final-session fightback but Ashleigh Gardner’s aggressive 56 and Tahlia McGrath’s 52 secured Australia’s position in the ascendency, despite the latter falling to the final ball of the day.

After a win in the opening Twenty20 of the multi-format series and wash-outs in the next two games, Australia will retain the Ashes with victory in the one-off Test.

England cause their own problems

Much of what England did on day one of this series-defining Test was good but the fear already is that their errors will cost them.

Brunt, Sciver and Anya Shrubsole found significant movement through the air in an bowler-dominated start, after England won the toss and took the aggressive option of bowling first.

Perry had scored 213 not out and 116 in her previous two Ashes Test innings and when Sciver removed her with a surprise bouncer England were well on top.

In the final session, Brunt removed Haynes with a brilliant delivery that lifted off a length and trapped Gardner lbw, bowling in typically aggressive fashion for 3-52.

The issue for the tourists was the slack period that came in between.

In the final over of the morning session Lanning edged left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone to slip but England captain Heather Knight put down a regulation catch.

After lunch Haynes nicked a cut to second slip off Brunt only for Sciver to spill a harder catch diving to her right.

For the rest of the session Haynes and Lanning were able to score at ease, England looking flat and their bowling becoming increasingly wayward.

They fought back well at the end meaning the game is not yet gone but, with women’s Tests played over four days not five, England do not have too much time to turn the tables on their hosts.

More to follow.

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