HomeAshes 2023Women's Ashes 2023: Ashleigh Gardner Hands Australia A Test Victory Since 2015...

Women’s Ashes 2023: Ashleigh Gardner Hands Australia A Test Victory Since 2015 Despite Tammy Beaumont And Sophie Ecclestone Heroics

Record-Breaking Ashleigh Gardner picked up 8 wickets while defending a total of 267 runs to earn Australia an 89-run victory in the one-off Test of Women’s Ashes 2023 in the multi-format Ashes series. While it looked like that despite the pressure of chasing, England’s side would sail over it after they scored 55 runs in the first 10 overs.

Ash Gardner was bought into the attack, and Healy can argue that one move turned the complexion of the game to give Australia a healthy lead of 4-0. It was Australia’s first test victory since 2015 as they drew all three Ashes Tests in 2017, 2019 and 2022 while playing another draw against India in 2021.

The five-day test, which was reintroduced after the 1992 series, witnessed both the teams getting top of the other in phases as Anabel Sutherland’s century was replied back by Tammy Beaumont’s record-breaking double hundred. Two front-line spinners derailed the opposition’s batting, while left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone picked 5 wickets in each of the two innings, Ash Gardner was the pick of the bowlers among the three Aussie spinners.

The match swung both ways, and both the teams were fighting toe to toe till the last one and the half hour of the fourth day when the Aussies found their rhythm to tighten their grip over England.

Out of the four debutants, Phoebe Litchfield was impressed with her batting in both innings. Along with Beth Mooney, she added 35 runs in the first innings before getting out to Kate Cross. Though the use of DRS might have saved her, she looked much more confident in the 2nd innings. Came out to bat in the last session of the 3rd day, and she and Mooney remained unbeaten at the end of the day while putting up 82 runs in 19 overs.

READ MORE: Women’s Ashes 2023: LIVE Streaming, When And Where To Watch, Full Squads, Fixture – All You Need To Know

While Litchfield got out in both innings while leaving the ball against Kate Cross, her 46 runs in the 2nd innings with 8 boundaries was the third-highest run for the side. Danny Wyatt on the other hand scored  44(49) and 54(88) in both the innings. Danny Wyatt’s inclusion in the team was based on her ability to score runs quickly and she did justice to her reputation in the first innings. Her selection in place of either Alice Capsey or Charlie Dean turn out to be fruitful which boosted their lower order.

The three-pronged Aussie spin attack had either less or very little effect on her batting as she batted with almost a hundred strike rate. In the 2nd innings, while the other batters lost their wickets in regular intervals, Wyatt hung in the wickets and brought up her maiden test half-century. She tackled Ash Gardner with grace while running single with occasional boundaries. She was the last player to get out to Gardner as her 8th scalp.

Lauren Filler also had an impressive debut in the test match. While her pace and bounce troubled the batters, she got Ellyse Perry out in both innings. Perry seemed uncomfortable against her bounce and though got two boundaries through the point in her 90s, she was caught at gully by Natalie Sciver-Brunt on 99 in the first innings.

In the 2nd innings too, Perry got out to Filler when she went to cut a ball that came back sharply at her shoulder height and chopped it onto the wicket. Her four debut test wickets for 148 runs consist of Perry (twice), Beth Mooney and Tahlia McGrath.

Women’s Ashes 2023: Annabell Sutherland scored her maiden Test Hundred

Annabell Sutherland who scored 29 and 116 in the Warm-up against England A came to bat at no 8, when Australia was 236/6 in the first innings. They had lost 4wickets for 36 runs and were verge of a collapse. Along with Ash Gardner, she first added 77 runs for the 7th wicket and then along with the lower order bat took the total beyond the 450 runs mark.

Her unbeaten 137 in 184 balls with 16 sinclalating boundaries which is her maiden Test Hundred was also the highest individual score in a women’s test innings at no 8, surpassing Chamari Senavirathne’s 105. Besides it was Australia’s highest individual score in a test innings, coming out to bat at lower than no 7. Sutherland became the 3rd youngest Australian to hit a test ton and the third fastest in the Women’s Ashes 2023 one-off Test.

Women's Ashes 2023 Ashleigh Gardner
Ashleigh Gardner stepped up with the ball. (Image: Getty)

Gardner, the 2nd Aboriginal Female Player to represent Australia in Tests, came out to bat when Australia lost 3 quick wickets and was reduced to 226/5 in the first innings. Perry got out on 99. Australia was 238/6. Along with Sutherland, added 77 for the 7th wicket with a personal score of 40 which included a six against Dunkley.

While King and Jess Jonassen (only five overs) failed to make any dent in the England batting order, she chipped in with important wickets of Knight ( 57), and Nat Sciver-Brunt (78) and then broke the defence of Tammy Beaumont (208). Ended on 4/99 in more than 25 overs.

Chasing a modest total of 257,( though highest if successfully chased) England was rushing 55/0 after the 10th over. In her very first over she removed Tammy, caught at slip. In her next, Nat fell to her, trying to play a sweep. Heather Knight got out to one then spun back sharply from the fourth stump and the England skipper could do nothing. 3 key wickets in three overs and England from 55/0 became 73/4 in 5 overs.

Ashleigh Gardner bowled 9 overs from one end and her figure was 9-1-33-3 at the end of 4th day. She was brought into the attack from the very first over with a spread-out field. It took her 11 more overs to claim all five wickets to earn Australia an 89-run victory. England’s pair of Hope, Amy Jones was stumped while Wyatt fell as the 10th wicket.

READ MORE: Ashes 2023: “Sore-Loser” Healy To Lead Lanning-less Australia To Maintain Their Dominant Run In The Historic Ashes Test

Her figure of 20-1-66-8 is the best by an Australian Woman in test innings. She is the 2nd after Neetu David to pick up 8 wickets in test innings. Her figure of 12/ 165 is the best by an Australian bowler while 2nd best after Shaiza Khan’s 13 wicket haul.

Prior to this test match, Tammy Beaumont scored 267 runs in 10 innings with 2 half-centuries. In the 2022 Ashes, she scored 5 and 36 while scoring 28 against South Africa. She came out to bat when Australia had already posted the highest-ever score in a Women’s Test Innings.

And this England side is dependent upon the top 4 for the big score. When they lost Lamb on 36 along with Knight she added 115 runs for the 2nd wicket and another 137 for the 3rd wicket with Nat Sciver.

Women’s Ashes 2023: Tammy Beaumont becomes only the SECOND England player to score a hundred across formats

She ended day two with her maiden test hundred and thus became the only 2nd England Woman after Heather Knight to score a hundred in each of the three formats. Before getting out to Ash Gardner as the 10th wicket to fall, her 208 is the highest individual score in any test innings for England Women, breaking Betty Snowball’s 88-year-old record of 189.

She pushed Sutherland for a single in the fine leg she became the first England Woman to score a double hundred in a Test inning. Her 208 is the fifth-highest individual score in a women’s test match innings after Kiran Baluch’s 242, Mithali Raj’s 214, Ellyse Perry’s 213* and Karen Rolton’s 209*.

Sophie Ecclestone, the top-ranked spinner in the limited-over cricket made her debut in the 2017 Ashes, the test known for Ellyse Perry’s unbeaten 213. Her 3/107 was bettered by her performance against India in 2021 when she picked up 4 wicket haul in both innings. Her 4 wickets in the first innings were instrumental to the Indian collapse. Prior to this test match, she has only 7 wickets in three test matches with an average of more than 50.

But in this, she tried to turn the table. While England played with one specialist spinner, Sophie Ecclestone looked threatening in her both innings. Though a double 5 wicket haul for 192 runs was not enough to secure a victory it was enough to prove that she is not only a white ball specialist.

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