Edwards ton props up England
England 8 for 181 (Edwards 103*, Colvin 6*, Perry 4-43) v Australia
England captain Charlotte Edwards scored her first Ashes Test century to help her team limp to 8 for 181 on the first day at the Bankstown Oval in Sydney, remaining unbeaten on 103. Ellyse Perry lead Australia's charge with the ball, nipping out both openers and then returning to dismiss Danielle Hazell and Isa Guha to set herself for a maiden five-wicket haul in just her third Test.
Perry had good back-up from new-ball partner Rene Farrell, who picked up two wickets, but Edwards' support was rather more sparse with Jenny Gunn the only other batsman to reach double figures.
Edwards won the toss and opted to bat first on a pitch with a good covering of grass, but England's openers didn't last long against the moving ball with Perry, who bowled largely full and straight, dismissing both Heather Knight and Caroline Atkins lbw on either side of Lydia Greenway's edge to Jess Cameron off Farrell.
England were tottering at 3 for 28 when Edwards was joined by Gunn, and they put on a gritty 65 for the fourth wicket to keep their team afloat. Gunn contributed a dogged 33, from 117 deliveries, before she was caught behind off Rachael Haynes' left-arm medium pace.
Laura Marsh didn't last long before she was trapped in front by Lisa Sthalekar but Katherine Brunt set her stall and opted for all-out defence in an effort to stay at the wicket. She made just 8 off 72 balls, with Edwards taking almost all responsibility to keep the score ticking over. England's total had crawled to 131 when Farrell removed Brunt for her second wicket in the 80th over.
Perry struck again almost immediately afterwards, holding a caught-and-bowled chance off Hazell, and when she had Guha caught at slip England were 8 for 147 and staring at a woefully under par total. Edwards found a stubborn partner in Holly Colvin, however, and they had put on a watchful 34 - the second-highest stand of the innings - at stumps. Edwards had Colvin for company when she reached a 4th Test hundred, and how long they can bat on for on the second day will be vital to England's cause.
"I've always wanted to score a Test hundred against Australia so this is definitely one of my career highlights so far," said Edwards. "We did lose wickets in the middle today, but the lower order helped me along and contributed some important runs. I'm looking forward to getting out there again tomorrow and hope we can push past 200."
"It was good to pick up those early wickets in the first session with both Rene Farrell and myself able to get off to a good start which is what we needed," added Perry. "I think everyone put in a really good effort in the field, particularly in the slips and that really set the tone."
"We were a bit surprised with the pitch; we probably thought there would be a little more life in it today because there is a fair bit of grass on it but it seemed pretty steady so it will probably start to keep more low over the few days and spin will probably come into it a bit more."
"Charlotte batted extremely well and full credit goes to her, she was fantastic today. She has been the rock of their team for a long time now and has been all series so far as well."