June 29, 2001

Sthalekar set for Southern Stars debut

Lisa Sthalekar will make her Australian debut today when the Southern Stars take on England in the first of three one-day internationals in the CricInfo Women's Series at the County Ground, Derby.

The 21 year-old all-rounder from the Gordon club in Sydney is one of two changes from the side which defeated England by an innings and 140 runs in the First Test at Shenley earlier this week. Fellow New South Wales all-rounder Julie Hayes also comes into the Australian eleven, with spin duo Olivia Magno and Avril Fahey the players replaced.

Sthalekar, who first played for the Australian Under-23 side in 1997/98, has been a key member of the New South Wales team which has won the Australian national women's titles for the last five years, with her economical off-spin and ability to score quick runs in the late overs. In 32 national league appearances for New South Wales, she has scored 288 runs at 20.57 and taken 35 wickets at 21.31.

Hayes, from the Balmain club, made her Australian debut during the 2000 CricInfo Women's World Cup in New Zealand, where she made four appearances without batting in a strong lineup, and took 5 wickets at 13.80.

In total, there are four changes from the Australian one-day side that lost narrowly to New Zealand in last December's World Cup Final, with Cherie Bambury and Zoe Goss not selected for this tour. Michelle Goszko, who scored a world record-equalling 204 on her Test debut on Monday, makes her first one-day international appearance since playing against Ireland in July 1998.

Karen Rolton, yet another all-rounder in an Australian lineup with plenty of batting depth, will today play in her 50th one-day international. Rolton was arguably the star of the 2000 Women's World Cup, where she set a new record for the fastest century in a women's one-day international.

England will be very much the underdogs today as they attempt to put the disasters of the World Cup behind them and assemble the nucleus of a young side for the future. Middle-order batsman Kate Lowe made an impressive Test debut earlier this week, while captain Clare Connor, with five wickets in the Test, showed that she can pose a genuine threat to the Australian batting. And she does have a one-day international hat-trick (against India in 1999) to her credit.

Play begins today at 10.45am local time (0945 GMT, 7.45pm in eastern Australia). The remaining matches of this one-day series will be played on Monday July 2 at Northampton, and Tuesday July 3 at Lord's. Today's match, and that on Monday, are being televised live in the UK by Sky Sports as part of their ongoing arrangement with the England & Wales Cricket Board to screen two games of women's cricket per year.

The Australian team for today's first one-day international in the CricInfo Women's Series is: Belinda Clark (capt), Lisa Keightley, Karen Rolton, Michelle Goszko, Louise Broadfoot, Julie Hayes, Julia Price, Therese McGregor, Cathryn Fitzpatrick, Charmaine Mason, Lisa Sthalekar. Sally Cooper is 12th man.