Women’s Ashes: Dropped catches cost England as Australia take charge on day one of crucial Test

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

England’s women were left to rue their dropped catches as they failed to capitalise on a strong start to the Ashes Test against Australia.

The tourists’ bowlers got off to an electric start as Australia were reduced to 4-2 and then 43-3 but a series of missed opportunities in the field proved costly as the hosts ended the day in the ascendancy on 327-7.

Bowlers Nat Sciver and Katherine Brunt starred with the ball with three wickets apiece but Sciver admitted her and her teammates could have piled further pressure on the opposition.

“We’re frustrated with the drops and I guess a little bit of a lack of energy in the middle session so it can be a bit frustrating at times,” she said. “But then you get a wicket and you feel like you’re on top of the world again. That’s the ups and downs of Test cricket.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Victory in the four-day Test would see Australia retain the Ashes in this multi-formatted series, which could yet go down to the missed catches.

Captain Mel Lanning, who was playing in her 150th game for her country across all formats, was given a reprieve when on 14.

She edged the final ball of a morning session which had belonged to England but her opposition captain Heather Knight dropped a relatively easy take to deny Sophie Ecclestone what would have been her only wicket of the day.

When play resumed, Lanning was quick to make England pay, scoring 93 before becoming one of Sciver’s three victims.

Rachael Haynes, who opened with a fluent 86, should have been in the pavilion long before that point only for Sciver to be victim to the second costly drop at second slip at the midpoint in Haynes’ innings.

Brunt eventually accounted for the wicket of Haynes, just three balls after the departure of Lanning but any hope that it might unsettle Australia’s lower order proved unfounded, instead paving the way for some heavy hitting by Tahlia McGrath and Ashleigh Gardner, who both made quick half-centuries to put Australia ahead despite both falling late in the day.

England need to at least draw the Test to stay in contention for the Ashes although a draw would require them to win all three one-day internationals.

Sciver, though, said England would go into day two positive from their initial showing.

“It was a pretty good day I think for us,” she said. “I think we probably won the first session, we were really happy with taking three wickets with the new ball and then probably got a little bit wide and a little bit wayward in the middle session and then brought it back at the end. So, we feel I think pretty positive about the day that we had.”

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