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Heather Knight and Co. desperate to keep Ashes series alive



Tristan Lavalette

Australia will be looking to retain the women’s Ashes when the Twenty20 leg of the multi-formatted series starts in North Sydney on Friday (November 17).

The hosts won the One-Day International (ODI) series 2-1 and the historic day-night Test was drawn, meaning Australia lead the Ashes 6-4. England can only regain the Ashes if they complete a sweep of the three-match T20 series.

After a rough start to the series, where they lost the opening two ODIs, England bounced back to win game three and then doggedly played out a draw in the standalone Test. After being pummelled by a brilliant Elysse Perry double century, England kept their Ashes hopes alive with a rear-guard batting effort on the final day and were, undoubtedly, aided by a staid North Sydney Oval pitch.

Still, despite often being totally outplayed during the series, England have kept fighting but will need to quickly switch to the fast and furious T20 format knowing they are walking a tightrope.

England tuned up with a 90-run thrashing of the Governor General’s XI on Wednesday (November 15) in a warm-up match at Drummoyne Oval. They were clinical with ball and in the field as they routed their opposition for a measly 56 but, most importantly, explosive wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor smashed an unbeaten 93 to demonstrate her importance in this format.

While England are fighting for survival, Australia will be hoping to wrap up the Ashes and avoid the nervousness of the series going down to the wire. Veteran quick Sarah Aley could make her international T20 debut after explosive left-armer Lauren Cheatle was ruled out with a back injury.

Nicole Bolton and Tahlia McGrath have also been excluded with offspinning allrounder Molly Strano and medium-pacer Delissa Kimmince brought in.

Selectors decided not to select veteran Kristen Beams, who was Australia’s mainstay spinner before the series but has been out of favour having only appeared in one match.

With the game a virtual elimination contest, the first T20 is set to be a classic Ashes contest.

When: November 17, 2017, 7.10 PM Local, 1.40 PM IST

Where: North Sydney Oval, North Sydney

What to expect: Humid conditions and a chance of a thunderstorm could impact the match. Plenty of runs should be on offer.

Team News

Australia: The hosts will be without Cheatle, who faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines and will not play again in 2017. Sarah Aley, Delissa Kimmince and Molly Strano have been added to the side that drew the historic day-night Test against England.

England: There is concern over the fitness of England vice-captain Anya Shrubsole, who has a hamstring complaint.


Australia: Rachael Haynes (c), Sarah Aley, Alex Blackwell, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington

England: Heather Knight(c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt

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