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