Tough going for Bell in Ashes bow as Australia edge out England in thrilling Test
Former Hungerford and Berkshire bowler Lauren Bell made her Ashes bow in England’s 89-run defeat to Australia at Trent Bridge.
The one-off Test match will be followed by three T20s and three ODIs, including a visit to Bell’s home ground of the Ageas Bowl, with England now needing to win five of the remaining six games – assuming no matches are lost to the weather – to regain the Ashes.
It was just the second ever women’s five day Test match, and the first to have five days of play – the other, which was held in Sydney in 1992, lost the entire third day to rain.
This week’s match was a much closer affair, with England almost matching the Aussies in the first innings after opener Tammy Beaumont became the first Englishwoman to score a Test double hundred before a succession of wickets on the fourth day dismissed the tourists for 257, leaving England 267 to win.
The hosts were going well on 55 without loss but an Australia fightback saw England close on 116/5 before rolling over on the final day and being bowled all-out for 178, with spinner Ashleigh Gardner taking eight wickets.
Bell had a mixed five days, with the 22-year-old fast bowler partnering the far more experienced Kate Cross to open the bowling on the first morning and producing a tight albeit non-threatening first spell from around the wicket – an approach which Bell, who favours bowling over the wicket, looked a little unused to.
Bell, who is nicknamed The Shard because of her height, produced one of her trademark in-swingers to remove Alana King and also accounted for Gardner as she finished with figures of 2-91 in the first innings.
However the pace bowler struggled at the beginning of Australia’s second innings and found herself watching on as namesake and debutant Lauren Filer was both more accurate and dangerous, bowling 11 overs to Bell’s six.
Bell, who took the wicket of Alana King to finish with figures of 1-27, will hope to be included in the team for the first T20 as England look to bounce back at Edgbaston on Saturday.