It was not just in Cardiff that English bowlers were made to toil yesterday as a record sixth-wicket stand from captain Jodie Fields and Rachel Haynes helped spare Australia's blushes on the first day of the women's Ashes at New Road, Worcester.
Fields (139) and Haynes (98) put on 229 – the fifth-highest women's Test match partnership of all time – as the tourists ended the day on 271 for 7. Both were dismissed late in the day, Katherine Brunt trapping Fields lbw and Laura Marsh bowling Haynes.
Earlier, Australia were on 28 for 5 as Brunt ripped through the order. It was a superb spell from the Yorkshire pace bowler, who made the breakthrough at the end of the first over as Alex Blackwell was caught behind for a duck. Australia chose to bat after winning the toss but were soon rueing that decision as Brunt continued to plough her way through the order. Karen Rolton went lbw without troubling the scorers, Lisa Sthalekar soon followed, Shelley Nitschke fell to Nicky Shaw and when Leah Poulton was dismissed for one, England were dominant.
However, the introduction of Fields and Haynes steadied the ship and helped the tourists into a favourable position by the close. Brunt ended with impressive figures of 5-55 from 22 overs, which included nine maidens.
*James Hildreth's century helped Somerset to 368 for 6 after losing the toss on the opening day of the County Championship First Division match against Hampshire at Taunton. The 24-year-old batsman reached his ton off 141 balls, with 14 fours, and was unbeaten on 124 when bad light ended play eight overs early.