Georgia Wareham. ©ICC

Australia nearly made a hash of what should have been a simple chase of 178 in the first ODI of the multi-format Ashes series at Grace Road in Leicester on Tuesday (July 2). If not for Georgia Wareham, the 20-year-old leg-spinner, who showed nerves of steel under immense pressure, they may have been going into the second game two points down.

In only her second innings in international cricket, and on her first Ashes tour, the right-hander stood firm for a seven-ball zero. At the other end, Delissa Kimmince made sure to get Australia over the line.

“I was pretty nervous going in with only few runs to get,” Wareham said in an interaction with the media on Wednesday (July 3). “It obviously got tight in the back end, but batting out there with DK (Delissa Kimmince), she calmed my nerves although our hearts were racing… It was really good to get the job done.”

“We just spoke about the conditions— on that wicket you needed to play really, really straight. Also, just the fact that we had heaps of overs left under our sleeve, so that was very helpful.”

Despite registering a below par score, England came out hard with the ball— attacking the stumps and intelligently varying their pace. They made life tough for Australia’s explosive top order, refusing to give them easy scoring opportunities. It was a ploy that eventually led to many of the batters get out whilst searching for runs. 

“Regardless of the situation, England have a really, really good (bowling) attack. They are really experienced. It was quite a challenge out there, but I am happy we managed to get over the line,” she said.

Australia went into the first ODI with a three-pronged spin attack. Jess Jonassen, the left-arm spinner, Asheligh Gardner, the off-spinner, and Gerogia Wareham, the leg-spinner, made good accounts of themselves to finish with combined figures of 26-1-85-4. Although Wareham failed to pick up a wicket, she did bowl impressively— showing great control through her spell.

“I felt that they were coming okay,” she said of her 10-over spell. “Look, as a bowling unit we did pretty well to hold them to the total that we did, but we didn’t quite get the job done early enough with the bat. We are looking to have much more rounded game tomorrow.”

“Obviously as a batting unit, (we need to) come together and hopefully chase it (the total) down with little bit easier with little bit less of a scare.”

With England’s batting line-up full of right-handers, and their known vulnerability against leg-spin, it is likely the leg-spinner will get an extended run through the series. Wareham, however, is not one let complacency set in.

“You never get complacent as to where you are. I think my goal is coming into the team and just be really aggressive and attacking and look to take as many wickets as I can. I want to be a real team player, which means doing what’s needed of me in every situation.”

While both teams struggled with the bat on Tuesday, Wareham believes that they will certainly see higher totals through the course of the series.

“It was a really good wicket, but as I said earlier both teams have got really really good bowling units. We knew it was going to be difficult. I think it was strange game to start of the series. I am sure the batters will step it up (in) the next game tomorrow and I think we will be in for some higher totals.”

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