England Women reach 124/9 at stumps on day one in Brisbane
The Australian media have made much of another England team facing their dominant sports-stars this week. England's veteran bowler, Clare Taylor, warned, that although Australia's recent record in Test matches was impressive, "Underdogs can cause upsets as football fans saw this week".
Knowing they were expected to be the next England team to succumb, the visitors made a solid, if slow, start to their Test match innings at The Gabba today. Openers Sarah Collyer and Kathryn Leng reached an opening stand of 53 before Collyer was caught by Rolton from the ever impressive bowling of the world's leading wickettaker Cathryn Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick produced a fiery opening spell and contained the English openers, returning figures of 0-9 from her initial twelve over spell. But Terese McGregor was expensive, going for 23 in her six overs, including consecutive boundaries from Collyer who pulled and drove the Australian seamer.
Australia Captain, Belinda Clark, won the toss and elected to bat. It began to look as though another decision at The Gabba to send the opposition in to open their Ashes account would prove ill founded as the home side went to lunch wicket-less.
But the interval broke England's momentum, and they slumped to 75-5 in the subsequent twenty overs. Having survived the pace and venom of Fitzpatrick, and begun to look in control, England's top order relented to the gentler pace of Karen Rolton. Rolton is better known for inflicting torment on the England bowling attack, but she managed to find good movement for her three wickets.
Fitzpatrick admitted after the game "we were confident that when one wicket fell we would be able to pick up the rest, and we didn't have any pressure from the scoreboard".
Adam Dale, former Australia One-Day and Queensland bowler advised Fitzpatrick not to get carried away with the extra bounce on offer at The Gabba and be patient, and she admitted that the advice was gratefully received, and executed.
Rolton had Kathryn Leng trapped lbw on 26 and in her next over accounted for Arran Thompson in the same way. Leng was unfortunate to be given, as was Charlotte Edward's in the over between, also given lbw to Emma Twining.
Lydia Greenway, making her England debut, was caught by a spectacular diving catch from Melanie Jones at short cover, just as she began to score runs. With a slow outfield and a long boundary, fours were always a premium, but England's running between wickets was sharp when they could dispatch the ball.
The collapse brought the more experienced pair of Claire Taylor and England Captain, Clare Connor to the wicket. Taylor has resumed wicket keeping duty for England in this Test Series following a stress facture to Mandie Godliman's foot, and England welcomed her experience in the middle of the innings.
The last time Taylor faced Australia in a Test match, she reached 137 at Headingley. Today, although she looked composed and was timing the ball as well as she has for England this winter, she managed just 14, caught by a superb diving catch from 'keeper Price in front of second slip.
Laura Harper, who had an average of 26 against Australia in the last Ashes Series provided some resistance at the tail, reaching 20 not out with Lucy Pearson playing intelligently to assist the teenager.
Australia regained the upper hand in the second and third sessions of the day and improved bowling and exceptional fielding saw England finish on 124-9.
The tourists will need to sharpen their teeth if they are to leave any imprint on this Ashes Series.