Record-breaking Rolton puts Australian Women in complete control
The compact and aggressive Australian left-hander, Karen Rolton, broke the record for the highest individual innings in a Test match, with 209 not out at Headingley today.
The Second and Final CricInfo Ashes Test was dominated on Day Two by the Australians, and in particular Rolton and Louise Broadfoot, who batted most of the day to add another Test record of 253 for the fourth wicket.
Australia were on 383/4 when they declared, 239 ahead. England replied with 10/0 off the remaining eight overs of the day.
Rolton, the Australian vice-captain, hit 29 fours and a six in her 313 ball, 378 minute display. Reminiscent in style to another Australian great, Allan Border, the 26-year-old passed her previous Test best of 176 not out in the final session, and closed in on the record, jointly held by New Zealand's Kirsty Flavell and Australia's Michelle Goszko, who scored nought this morning. That 176 not out, made against England at Worcester on Australia's last visit in 1998, was the eighth-best score in Tests until today.
Ironically, whilst Goszko missed out, and lost her record, against an England attack that persevered without luck, Rolton filled her boots with a robust display of hitting. The South Australian gave just two chances, one when she skyed England's best bowler, Clare Taylor, to Caroline Atkins at square leg, when on 157, the other a square drive that went for four through point's fingers, when on 191.
An almighty smash over midwicket brought her the title of the Brian Lara of women's cricket. Australia declared shortly afterwards.
She told CricInfo, "To beat the record was the highlight of my career so far. When Julia Price came out to bat she said everyone in the dressing room would kill me if I didn't break it." She continued, "You have those days when everything hits the gaps, but it was just good to get the runs on the board for the team and see if we can win tomorrow."
Broadfoot was less confident, and was dropped three times between 31 and 40. However, the pair batted England out of the game with a partnership that broke the 222 put on by Denise Annetts and Lyn Larsen for Australia against England at Sydney in 1991/2.
The stand ended when Broadfoot, a 23-year-old Victorian right-hander, lobbed Sarah Collyer's medium pace to England captain Clare Connor at mid on for a Test best 71.
Rolton was CricInfo Australian Player of the Match in two of the One-Day Internationals, and seems certain to win the reward again in this game. The powerful batsman hit the fourth best one day score, 154, against Sri Lanka in the 2000/1 World Cup, and will be celebrating after the game with the first bottle of champagne she has won in cricket, presented by Yorkshire CC, between innings.
She scored a duck in the First Test, which was held last week at Shenley, but still averages 120.20 in her eight Test innings career. Strangely, Goszko, who commented to CricInfo, "The record didn't last very long-not with 'Rolly' around," also now has a double hundred and a zero in the series.
Rolton's hundred came in 191 balls, with the fourth ever Test double century taking 305 balls, achieved with a rare false shot, a Chinese cut for two.
England took just three wickets, at a cost of 315 runs in the day, and must now survive two full days for a draw.