Elliott puts Australia in control
Australia 243 for 3 (Elliott 95*, Cameron 50) v England
Sarah Elliott will sleep five runs short of an Ashes hundred after putting Australia in control on the opening day at Wormsley. Her unbeaten 95, alongside useful contributions from Meg Lanning and Jess Cameron, led Australia to 243 for 3 in friendly batting conditions at the beginning of the new multi-format Ashes campaign.
With the destination of the urn, currently held by Australia, decided on a combination of points across all three formats the result of this Test will not decide the outcome but victory, worth six points, would be a major leap towards success.
Although Australia lost Rachael Haynes in the tenth over, to give Anya Shrubsole her first Test wicket, they made good use of having won the toss. Elliott and Lanning added 70 for the second wicket, a stand broken when Lanning was run out coming back for a third shortly after lunch, then Elliott put on a further 80 Cameron, who produced the most fluent batting of the day with 10 boundaries in her 50.
When Cameron was lbw to Laura Marsh, Australia were 167 for 3 and another quick wicket or two would have brought England back but the visitors negotiated the rest of the day as Elliott and Alex Bracewell added an unbroken 76.
Elliott, who is playing her first match back in international cricket after having her first child, was at the crease for 90 overs, facing 245 deliveries, and her innings followed the Ashes-winning 81 she made in Sydney in 2011 which was he previous appearance for Australia.
"I'm really really pleased to be back in the team, it's a great group to be around and it's really nice to know that I can contribute in this format of the game," he said. "The bowlers, I thought, did a great job bowling really tight lines. The pitch definitely had a bit in it early, which is really exciting for our bowlers. But then it's a really great pitch once you're in, I think it's a great opportunity to cash in."
It was a day of toil for England's bowlers; Jenny Gunn was economical, sending down 21 overs for 34, and Katherine Brunt also conceded fewer than two runs an over but only Shrubsole and Marsh found success.