Jess Jonassen is on the verge of a memorable century on debut having rescued Australia from the depths of a day one horror show in the one-off women’s Ashes Test.
England’s Anya Shrubsole (4-59) ripped out the Australia top order during a 37-ball purple patch either side of lunch, as Australia crashed from 0-66 to 4-87, before recovering to be 8-268 at stumps in Canterbury on Tuesday.
The tourists then slipped to 5-99 but with the aid of Test newcomer Jonassen, who hit a brilliant unbeaten 95, Australia rallied to ensure honours finished even after day one.
Jonassen, the 22-year-old Queensland right-hander who was one of three players to receive their ‘baggy greens’ prior to the toss, hit 10 fours in her 186-ball stay, batting for a shade over four hours to frustrate an England side that had been on top after Shrubsole’s four-wicket burst.
Batting first, after Meg Lanning won the toss in the first fully-televised women’s Test, Australia struggled to lay bat on ball against England’s opening pair of Katherine Brunt and Shrubsole.
In overcast and humid conditions both England seamers got the ball to swing and nip around off the seam.
It took England 21.5 overs to make their first breakthrough and part a half-century Australian opening stand between debutante Nicole Bolton and Elyse Villani, who edged to Heather Knight at first slip to be out for 33.
Four runs on and Shrubsole struck again, Australian skipper Lanning (3) sparring with a near identical delivery to be caught smartly once more by Knight.
Bolton (36), the left-handed opener who was also making her Test debut for the tourists, then had her leg stump pegged back by a Shrubsole in-swinger that sailed through the gate, while Ellyse Perry nicked a defensive push into her pad, which ballooned up for England keeper Sarah Taylor to snare.
Australia then found themselves five down with fewer than 100 on the board when Brunt trapped Alex Blackwell lbw for seven on her 200th international appearance for Australia.
Australia rallied, but soon after tea Laura Marsh removed Alyssa Healy (39) to end a sixth-wicket stand with Jonassen that had added 77 from 129 balls.
Healy, who had been dropped at point off a sliced drive when on 21, played across one from Marsh that pitched on the stumps and straightened to make it 6-176.
Sarah Coyte (3) followed soon after, before Megan Schutt (11) was also removed to reduce Australia to 8-206.
That would prove to be England’s last success of the day, as Jonassen and fellow debutante Kristen Beams (24 not out) dug in for an hour-and-a-half to thwart Charlotte Edwards’ side with an unbroken ninth-wicket stand worth 62.