Having already whitewashed hosts England 3-0 in ODIs, Australia Women will look seal the multi-format Women's Ashes 2019 with a complete performance in the only Test beginning 18 July, Thursday.
Australia Women have already taken a 6-0 lead in the 2019 Women's Ashes points table, having won each of the three ICC Women's Championship ODIs. As both teams head to Taunton's County Ground, a venue dubbed by the locals as 'Ciderabad' for its spin friendly conditions, both captains will have a close look at the surface to field the ideal team combinations.
The surface, not being a fresh one, saw 24 wickets fall to spin in the most recent county fixture. But the likelihood of wickets falling isn't worrying the teams. In fact, they're looking forward to it as it increases the chances of producing a result.
Not long until the Ashes Test gets underway!— ICC (@ICC) July 18, 2019
Can England keep their hopes alive? pic.twitter.com/XvxCSNj3M7
"It would be great to see a result in this Test match and I think there will be one," Australia captain Meg Lanning said on Wednesday ahead of Australia’s final training session. "It’s a used wicket so there’s the potential it could turn later in the Test, which is pretty exciting with both sides going out there to win. I think it will be a great contest. We’re happy playing whatever comes our way, I think it will be a really good contest and it will play reasonably well early on, it’s just towards the back end we’ll just have to see how it goes."
Taunton had hosted three games during the recently concluded ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, the third of which saw Bangladesh chase down West Indies' 321/8, the highest run-chase of the tournament. However, the pitch which had hosted the league match between New Zealand and Afghanistan earlier, will be used for the four-day encounter between the Ashes rivals.
Spirits were high at Australia training ahead of the first Women's Ashes Test match! pic.twitter.com/yhZmKVWEpa— ICC (@ICC) July 18, 2019
England skipper Heather Knight too, predicted spin to play a heavy part, adding that Kirstie Gordon, the left-arm spinner could be in contention after her impressive performance in the warm-up game against the visitors.
"It looks a little bit dry," England skipper Heather Knight noted. "I think it will generally play okay to start with, but we’ll have to see how it adapts as the game goes on. Kirstie’s done very well in the warm-up game against the Australians and it’s put her in contention. We'll make a final decision (later) and that’ll be announced at the toss."
Since England are in desperate search for a win to keep the series alive, Knight agreed that the result-oriented surface would be an ideal one, considering the nature of the contest. "We obviously need a result, so we want a pitch that will be conducive to that," Knight said.
England women were hard at work in the nets today!— ICC (@ICC) July 17, 2019
The women's Ashes Test match gets underway in Taunton tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/EP2Vw2L68r
I think the last few pitches we’ve played (Tests) on have been very flat and slow, which haven’t been great for the spectacle and haven’t been great in terms of creating exciting cricket to watch and creating results. I think it will be slightly different to that. We’ll obviously have to see how it plays and as a team we’ll have to adapt in terms of how we play our cricket."
Knight further expressed her concerns about the weather playing its part with rain forecast for days two and three of the four-day fixture. "There’s a bit of rain around, there’s no hiding from it," Knight said. "Hopefully it doesn’t have an impact but there’s nothing we can do about it and nothing we can control."
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