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Caerdydd Day Three: It's all happening (in Worcester)

Submitted by rickeyre on July 11, 2009 - 1:11pm

Two days left, Australia will not lose at the Gerddi Soffia. They might win. I'm backing the Welsh weather gods (if they have any).

The Midwinter-Midwinter points for Friday (68 overs played, but still enough for a full 3-2-1): Michael Clarke 3, Marcus North 2, Ricky Ponting 1. For now, Clarke, Collingwood, Katich and Ponting share the lead with just 23 scheduled playing days remaining.

But while Katich, Ponting, Clarke, North, and not Mr Cricket where flayling the English bowlers at the House of Swalec, the real action was happening just a 100 minute drive up the M5 (or 129 minutes if you take the A465 if Google Maps is to be believed). England's queens of women's cricket had their Australian counterparts on the proverbial ropes on the opening day of their Test - sadly, a one-off Test - at the New Road, Worcester.

Jodie Fields (nee Purves), captaining Australia for the first time in a Test, won the toss and decided to have a bat. Nice call, Jode. Blackwell 0. Rolton 0. Sthalekar 6. Nitschke 15. Poulton 1. Australia 28 for 5. Suddenly English twitterati on #ashes were enthusiastically following a women's team they had probably never known existed.

But as any good captain knows, there's only one surefire way to get your team out of mess, and that is to do all the work yourself. (Either that or England received a motivational phone call from Kevin Pietersen.) Fields combined with Test debutante Rachelle Haynes for a world record sixth wicket partnership of 129. By stumps on Friday, Australia was 271 for 7. Fields made 139, Haynes was dismissed in the last over of the day for 98.

I've never been too sure about the concept of scheduling women's tours at the same time as the men. It was a fabulous idea for the World Twenty20, where the women's and men's finals were staged as a double-header. But normally the men's game blocks out the attention of the women. On Friday, the circumstances were just right for the England women, when they were on top while the men were not. Will the media attention be any better on Saturday?

So who sent a reporter to cover the women's Test on Friday? Cricinfo, apparently, did not. The Telegraph had Kate Laven, The Times Sarah Potter, The Guardian Mike Averis. The ECB's own website had a reporter. Looks as if neither Cricket Australia nor any of the Aussie media could be fussed.

Finally, back to Wales for the men's game, and a pick of five wraps of the day. Ben Dorries is reporting for the News Ltd daily comic books in Australia. As well as his Business Spectator online piece, Gideon Haigh is writing daily for The Times. Angus Fraser is there for the Independent, while Scyld Berry was having a grump about the floodlights for the Telegraph. And Damien Martyn blogs from the comfort of the SBS studio in Sydney.