Ashleigh Gardner connects in Australia's match against England Women's Academy at Haslegrave Ground, Loughborough, England. Picture: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Ashleigh Gardner connects in Australia's match against England Women's Academy at Haslegrave Ground, Loughborough, England. Picture: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Aussie sounds women's Ashes warning with 59 from 31 balls

ASHLEIGH Gardner has taken just one innings in England to show she's ready to make her mark in the Ashes.

One of the first big stars of the Women's Big Bash League, Gardner whacked an unbeaten 59 from just 31 balls in Friday's 68-run win over England's academy.

The knock came just days before Tuesday's Ashes series' opener in Leicester, and was devastating.

She hit five sixes and four more boundaries as Australia posted 5-337, while Meg Lanning finished on 96.

"It was great to obviously get the chance to come up the order at No.5 and just play my natural way," said Gardner, who also took two wickets.

"I probably started a little slower, but they bowled into my swinging arc a few times and it got me under way."

Australia play three one-dayers next week, before a Test beginning on July 18 and three Twenty20s to finish.

Each limited-overs match is worth two points and the Test four, with Australia having held the urn since 2015.

Not picked for the red-ball component of the last home Ashes, Gardner is pushing for her Test debut.

The 22-year-old debuted for Australia in shorter-form cricket in 2017 and made her name that year when she hit a 47-ball century for the Sydney Sixers in the WBBL.

The right-hander bats at No.3 in Twenty20 cricket, but enters lower down the order as a power hitter in the one-day game.

"I would love to spend more time out there but it does give me that ... freedom knowing I can go from ball one," Gardner said.

"I accumulated a few early in my innings (on Friday), which is something I need to keep in mind. There are more balls than I realise."

Gardner is one of six women in Australia's squad set to play Ashes cricket for the first time.

Both her and middle-order bat Beth Mooney at least have some experience there, having played the 2017 World Cup.

Mooney also hit 267 runs at 33.37 in last year's T20 English Super League after previous county expeditions.

"I think that experience is beneficial for transferring your skill sets from playing in Australian conditions over to English conditions," Mooney said.

"The ball swings around a fair bit and moves off the seam because the wickets are a bit slower and stickier ... that will hold me in good stead."

News Corp Australia

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