Tahlia McGrath stakes claim for maiden Test
TAHLIA McGrath has boosted her chances for a maiden Baggy Green cap in this week's women's Ashes Test in one incredible over with the ball at Manuka Oval.
Dropped back to play for an invitational ACT XI against the Aussies but still part of the Test squad, McGrath claimed three wickets in four balls on the final day of the three-day day-night tour match in Canberra on Sunday.
The statement could hardly have been any bigger, given the scalps included top-scorer Elyse Villani, captain Rachael Haynes and star player Ellyse Perry in her match-best figures of 3-8 in the second innings with the pink ball.
"She changed the game today," Australia's coach Matt Mott said.
"It was meandering along and in the space of two overs she turned the game on its head. That was impressive and something we like seeing.
"(She) was outstanding."
The match ended as a draw after ACT claimed a first-innings lead when both sides declared their first digs early, before Australia hit 9(dec)-287 in their second and ACT were 3-68 at the close.
McGrath, 21, returned from a back injury into Australia's squad for the three one-dayers against England earlier this month. But she was replaced by fellow young quick Lauren Cheatle for the weekend's warm-up match.
Cheatle could be a preferred option for Friday's one-off Test given she offers a left-arm option with the ball.
Mott is due to reduce Australia's squad from 15 to 13 on Monday but he said he would wait until the squad travelled to Sydney and inspected the North Sydney pitch for the historic first women's day-night Test.
"It definitely creates a little bit of an aura at night and whether it does swing more is up to people in the middle to assess," Mott said.
"We got really good at that in the second innings, we identified a key moment in the second innings and we got through that."
Meanwhile England also drew their day-night warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI in Sydney, with the hosts 84 runs short of the victory target with three wickets in hand when play ended.