Legspinner Kristen Beams has been omitted from the Australia squad for the day-night Women's Ashes Test, which starts in Sydney from November 9, with the hosts picking Amanda-Jade Wellington as the sole legspinner in the 13-member squad. Beams' exclusion was the only change from the 14-member team that won two of the three matches against England women in the preceding ODI series.
Beams, Australia's highest wicket-taker at the Women's World Cup earlier this year, was the 12th man in an Australian team that played a three-day pink-ball practice match against an ACT Invitational XI in Canberra recently. She had featured in only one match of the ODI series against England, taking 2 for 38 in the second match, after replacing Ashleigh Gardner, who had suffered a concussion. Another player from that practice match to miss out on the national squad was 19-year-old medium-pacer Belinda Vakarewa.
National selector Shawn Flegler said both players were unfortunate to miss out on selection. "Belinda showed promising signs with the ball and is definitely a player of the future, and whilst she would be disappointed, it's pleasing to see so many pace bowlers putting their hands up for selection. Kristen was also unlucky to miss out on selection, with the panel opting to go with just the one legspinner in the side."
Australia's squad includes five players uncapped in Tests: Gardner, Tahlia McGrath, Wellington, Beth Mooney and Lauren Cheatle. One of the pace bowlers who impressed in the practice match was McGrath - she dismissed Elyse Villani, Rachael Haynes and Ellyse Perry in the space of four balls on Sunday.
"A win in this match could see Australia take an unassailable lead in the series and retain the Ashes, so it was important that the side was well-balanced and capable of taking 20 wickets," Flegler added.
Defending champions Australia lead the series 4-2, having defeated England in the first two fixtures of the ODI leg and a win in the Test would fetch them four points and take their tally to eight. The Test will be followed by a three-match T20I series, which starts from November 17. In the event of both teams finishing on eight points, Australia will retain the Ashes.