Ash Gardner claims eight-wicket haul as Australia triumphs in Ashes Test

Ashleigh Gardner took 8-66 in the second innings in Australia's 89-run Ashes Test win over England.

Ashleigh Gardner took 8-66 in the second innings in Australia's 89-run Ashes Test win over England. Photo: PA via AP

Ashleigh Gardner has produced the second-best bowling match figures by a woman in history to spin her side to an 89-run Ashes Test victory over England at Trent Bridge.

Gardner claimed 8-66 in the fourth innings to wrap up the sole Ashes Test, as England were all out for 178 in pursuit of 268 for victory.

It took Gardner’s haul for the match to 12 wickets, making for the best of all time by an Australian woman and behind only Pakistan’s Shaiza Khan return of 13 in 2004 for the most of all time.

The result means Australia will need to win only two of the six white-ball matches to retain the Ashes in the multi-format series.

“I wouldn’t have dreamt of it, but it just shows having five days in a Test to get a result is super important,” Gardner said.

“There was a little bit of luck involved in the conditions, but I think as a whole bowling unit we bowled well throughout, tried to bowl in partnerships and I was the lucky one to get the wickets.”

England had made a promising start to the day when it whittled down the required runs to 127.

But it was again Gardner who turned the screws.

She made the breakthrough when she got the edge of nightwatcher Kate Cross on 13, before Amy Jones was stumped by a fumbling Alyssa Healy on four.

And like that, the game was all but up for England, as Gardner took all three of the final wickets to seal the match.

Gardner has won a Belinda Clark Award and was the WBBL’s player of the tournament last summer. But this Test has been her crowning glory.

She spun Australia back into the match in the first innings when England was in control at 2-288 in reply to Australia’s 473, with figures of 4-99.

Her wickets included the key trio of Tammy Beaumont on 208, Heather Knight on 57 and Nat Sciver-Brunt.

In the second innings with England cruising at 0-55 in pursuit of 268, it was Gardner again.

She took the wickets of Beaumont, Knight and Sciver-Brunt in the space of three overs.

It was only fitting that Gardner did the job again come Monday, with her figures overtaking Betty Wilson’s previous best figures by an Australian with 7-7 in 1958.

But she was not alone in winning the match for Australia, after counteracting England spinner Sophie Ecclestone’s 10-192 for the match.

Ellyse Perry’s 99 on day one laid the foundations for the tourists, while Annabel Sutherland hit an unbeaten 137 at No.8 to ensure they would reach a big first-innings total with their tail wagging.

Healy’s rearguard second-innings 50 with two fractured fingers was also crucial, giving Australia something to bowl at after a mid-innings collapse of 6-49 left it at risk of losing the match.

The result ends a run of six straight draws in women’s Tests, with this the first match since 1992 to be given a fifth day.


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