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Recovering from fractured jaw, Mooney hopes to be fit for the Ashes Test

Australia batter back in the nets less than a week after surgery, with coach Mott declaring her a chance for Thursday's Test

Alex Malcolm
23-Jan-2022
Beth Mooney ready for day-night Test cricket at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast

Beth Mooney missed the three T20Is in Adelaide  •  Getty Images

Australia batter Beth Mooney has a chance to play in the women's Ashes Test match on Thursday in Canberra despite having undergone surgery on a fractured jaw last week.
Mooney missed the three T20Is in Adelaide, although two of them were washed out, after fracturing her jaw while batting in the nets last Monday. But Mooney returned to the nets on Sunday facing some throwdowns and ran some laps before rain enveloped Adelaide Oval.
Australia coach Matthew Mott told Channel Seven that Mooney has a chance to play in the Canberra Test.
"She was hitting out the back with Peter Clarke our sports psych, she's in good nick," Mott said. "We'll certainly look at her for the Test match. All the indications are looking very positive. She's been up and about. She's a warrior. She's tough. We can't wait to have her back in our group. But she's going ok."
Her team-mate Rachael Haynes said the players were stunned at Mooney's recovery.
"It's pretty incredible, to be honest," Haynes said. "It's been really nice to see how much she's progressed. Even little things over the last couple of days, the swelling around her face has gone down quite substantially and just having a bit of a chat with her and checking in and seeing how she's been going, she's feeling really confident.
"She had a hit today in the net and also a run around and by all accounts, she's not in any pain or anything like that. So I think it's just about her stepping through those little markers that she needs to get through and without a doubt, she's definitely got her eye on that Test match in Canberra."
Mooney opened in Australia's last Test against India earlier this summer alongside Alyssa Healy but there is a squeeze for places at the top of the order with Haynes returning to the side after missing the India Test with a hamstring injury.
Haynes has opened in five of her nine Test innings, however, she has only reached 30 three times in Tests and all three have come batting in the middle order - that includes scores of 98 and 87 in previous Ashes Tests at No.7 and No.5. But Haynes is preparing to bat at the top as well.
"Obviously, that's a conversation probably for Meg and Motty to have," Haynes said. "I've certainly been preparing like I will bat in the top order, facing plenty of the new ball, and those sorts of things in preparation for the Test match. But as I've said in the past, I'm happy to bat wherever they need me to. I've prepared for that knowing that I could end up in the middle but I'm definitely preparing to open at this stage."
The make-up of Australia's attack is also unknown with Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen set to return after missing the India Test. The season-ending injury to Tayla Vlaeminck may open the door for Stella Campbell to play again after making her Test debut against India.
Campbell was left out of Australia's Ashes squad but is part of the Australia A squad and took 7 for 25 for NSW in a recent WNCL match against ACT at Manuka Oval.
"Having watched first-hand the damage she did against ACT and just the wicket as well and [it] had a little bit more bounce and carry in it than perhaps what we've seen in the past," Haynes said. "I think she'd definitely be coming into calculation. She obviously debuted earlier on in the summer as well. And I think particularly in red-ball cricket, where your ability to take wickets is, obviously, fundamental to winning Test matches. No doubt they'll be sitting down and having a bit of a discussion on who they think the best makeup is for our side to be able to take 20 wickets because that's ultimately what we're going to look to do. We do want to be positive and try and win this Test match."

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo