Beth Mooney in action. ©Getty Images

A century from Beth Mooney and an unbeaten 65 from Sophie Molineux towards the end of the day took Australia to a total of 360 for 5 declared at the close of play on the first day of their three-day tour match against England Academy at Marlborough College in Swindon on Thursday (July 11). The pair shared a century stand in the last session of play after Rachel Haynes retired just after tea. In reply, England Academy, who had to see off 14 overs from Australia’s new ball bowlers, finished on 49 for 3, trailing the visitors by 311 runs.

Mooney, who looked in good touch through the ODI series, came in at no.6 with Australia in a spot of bother at 127 for 4 soon after the lunch break. She first strung together an important 99-run stand with Haynes (47), before batting out a large part of the last session alongside Molineux. She retired after scoring a 138-ball 101 with 15 boundaries to her credit.

At the other end, 21-year-old Molineux— a late addition to Australia’s Test squad— hit her stride almost immediately, scoring at a rapid pace. She struck 10 boundaries in her 62-ball 65, taking a particular liking to Sophia Dunkley’s leg-spinners.

Earlier in the day, true to their word, Australia came out all guns blazing with the bat. Alyssa Healy and Nicole Bolton, their openers, got off to a terrific start, stringing together a 55-run stand in just under 12 overs. Healy smashed six boundaries on her way to a 39-ball 33 before she became Kirstie Gordon’s first victim.

Bolton (41) and Ellyse Perry consolidated Australia’s position, but with a half century in sight, the former was caught in the deep off the bowling of Gordon. England Academy continued to chip away at the visitor’s top order, dismissing Meg Lanning for 14 just before lunch. Going into the break, Australia were 122 for 3 with Perry and Haynes at the crease.

After lunch, England Academy dealt another blow to the visitors, when Perry (30) was caught down the leg-side off the bowling of Alex Hartley. The left-arm spinner, vying for a place in the England squad, was one of the team’s better bowlers despite taking only one wicket. Hartley picked up 1 for 44 in 14 overs at the end of the day, conceding only 3.14 runs per over.

However, that would be the last dent England Academy would make in Australia’s batting line up for much of the remainder of the day. Haynes, Mooney, Molineux and Ashleigh Gardner (8) took the home team’s attack to the cleaners over the next two sessions, amassing 233 runs at close at 4.50 runs per over. Gardner’s dismissal in the 84th over to Freya Davies provided England Academy with some respite as Australia chose to declare with a little over an hour of play left.

Lauren Winfield and Bryony Smith started on a positive note, cutting and driving Australia’s opening bowlers with authority. However, after a quick 33-run opening partnership, Winfield was caught at gully by Nicola Carey off the bowling of Perry for 16. 

Following that dismissal, it was the Tayla Vlaeminck show in the last 20 minutes of play. The 20-year-old fast bowler first dismissed Smith who was caught behind for 14, after which Fran Wilson, who was unable to control a cut shot, was caught at point by Schutt for 8. With close of play in sight, England Academy were in trouble at 49 for 3 in 12.1 overs. Emma Lamb (3 not out) and Danielle Wyatt (4 not out) batted through the remaining 1.5 overs to take England Academy through to stumps.