Women's Ashes: Sarah Elliott inspired by a young face in the crowd
Australia 243-3 v England
Sunday 11 August 2013
There are few more attractive grounds than Wormsley to watch cricket.
Playing when the pitch is as lifeless as it was is another matter, Anya Shrubsole admitting there were some tired England bodies after 100 overs of hard and mostly unrewarded work.
"It's a pretty flat track and to keep a very good side to under two-and-a-half runs an over is a pleasing effort," said Shrubsole, who was the pick of the England bowlers on her Test match debut.
The manner in which Australia's batters applied themselves after skipper Jodie Fields won the toss suggests that having laid a fine foundation, they will go on to score a total which will almost certainly put this match beyond England.
Such is very much the intention, Sarah Elliott confirmed. The 31-year-old Victorian is the only member of the Australia squad not also selected for the one-day internationals which follow this Test, and having come so far to play what might well be just one innings, she was elated after reaching the close unbeaten on 95.
The rings around her eyes testified to her tiredness, though that had more to do with being a relatively new mother. Looking up from time-to-time to see husband Rob and nine-month-old son Sam in a crowd of more than 2,000 helped keep her going, she admitted.
"It would be great if Sam sleeps through for the first time," she smiled, but given the determination with which she batted it is hard to imagine her not going on to a deserved century, regardless of how little sleep she manages.
Elliott came in with Australia struggling in the face of excellent new ball bowling from Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt.
The former had bowled Rachael Hayes with a well pitched up delivery and both got the ball to swing.
Meg Lanning was run out after an outstanding fielding effort from Brunt just after lunch, but with Elliott having taken root, Jess Cameron picked up the scoring rate, putting away the regular one bad ball an over delivered by the England spinners.
Cameron had just gone to her 50 when she was given out leg before trying to turn Laura Marsh on the on-side, but Alex Blackwell ensured there were no further set-backs for the visitors before the close of play.
"Hopefully we can go on to make the sort of total which will put England under pressure," said Elliott. "It was hard work, because their seamers bowled tight lines, but it's a really great pitch to bat on."
It is as well for England that the Ashes do not depend on the result of this match.
The series format awards six points to the winners of this Test, and two points for a win in each of the three one-day and three T20 matches which follow.
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