Australia captain Meg Lanning was happy with the way her batters moved very quickly on day one of the women’s Ashes Test at the Manuka Oval on Thursday. She added that Australia will be targeting to go above 350 on day two after being 327/7 at stumps on day one. Meg was the top run-scorer with 93 and was supported by fifties from Rachael Haynes (86), Ashleigh Gardner (56) and Tahlia McGrath (52).
“I think if you’d said (beforehand) we’d score 327 on the first day, we’d be pretty happy. It’s important tomorrow that we sort of finish that off and try and get above that 350 mark, which will give us a little bit of room to move. We have been able to move the game forward pretty quick. It’s a good batting track and fast outfield. If we can push past 350, as close to 400 as we can, I think that puts us in a good spot,” Meg was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au after the day’s play.
Meg also felt that batting became easy after lunch, when Australia went off the field at 79/3 and had slowly started to grow out of trouble. “We were just happy to get through. To be honest, I remember saying to Motty (head coach Matthew Mott) at lunch, ‘geez it’s hard work out there and I’m finding it really challenging’. I wasn’t sure of what the next was going to hold. But it did seem a little bit easier after that lunch break, having a bit of sun on the wicket and a little bit less swing as well. We just wanted to be positive.”
Meg, who shared a 169-run partnership with Rachael for the fourth wicket, heaped praise on Ashleigh’s quick-fire knock off 74 balls, laced with eight fours and a six. It was a crucial knock for Australia, especially after considering that they lost Meg and Rachel in a span of just four balls.
“It was perfect given the circumstances. It could have easily gone the other way and we could have been rolled for 250-odd, so it was very important. That’s her (Ashleigh’s) natural game. We want players to do that, it’s the best way to go about it. It certainly helped put us back in front.”
The 29-year-old signed off by saying that there were a number of reasons to keep senior pacer Megan Schutt out of the playing eleven. “Schutter is one of the best, if not the best short-format bowler in the world. But the attack we’ve gone with in this Test match we feel one we feel is best suited to these conditions and this format.”
“She’s also a touch underdone as well, she had COVID (earlier this month), and then we didn’t play a lot of T20 (last weekend). It just didn’t seem like a very smart choice, especially given the one-dayers coming up.”