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Highlights are Healy’s 99 and Brown’s five wickets. The supremacy of Australia

Highlights are Healy’s 99 and Brown’s five wickets. The supremacy of Australia

At the WACA, Australia’s quicks withstood intense heat to destroy a rookie South Africa team that was severely lacking Marizanne Kapp. Later in the first day, captain Alyssa Healy came agonizingly close to scoring her first Test century.

Healy, who had been out on the field for nearly the whole day, was exhausted when she was caught and bowled for 99 after falling victim to debutant Delmi Tucker’s offspin.

However, Australia leads the historic first Test between the two nations by 175 runs at stumps.

South Africa was bowled out in 31.2 overs and thrashed for a meager 76, their lowest-ever Test score.

However, they struck back when Masabata Klaas bowled an astonishing new-ball spell quickly, leaving Australia reeling at 12 for 3.

In 42 degree heat, Australia’s attack was unable to keep up with Healy and Beth Mooney’s 155-run partnership, which restored Australia’s lead.

Healy teamed up with Annabel Sutherland, who, as the dusk approached, exploited a withering South Africa with an undefeated half-century.

After a terrible start to the four-day match, South Africa’s hopes of pulling off an upset victory to square the multi-format series seem remote.

With four debutants and only their second Test match in ten years under their belt, South Africa was shocked to learn that Kapp was unable to play due to illness.

The discipline of Australia’s quicks, who devastatingly targeted a hazardous back of a length, proved too much for a startled South Africa. With their XI having played in just seven Tests together, South Africa’s inexperience against the red ball was evident as they were easily defeated by careless shots. Their batters were too frequently slashed at pitches outside the off-stump, and their lack of footwork proved to be fatal.

Speedster Darcie Brown took her first-ever five-wicket haul in a Test match, justifying Healy’s audacious decision to bowl first in the intense heat. Sutherland and Tahlia McGrath also shone on a green-tinged pitch that offered bounce and movement.

Healy did not need to use Australia’s three front-line spinners, including Sophie Molineux, who was playing in her first international match in over two years, because of the quicks’ domination.

The surface, which was being utilized for the first time this season, had generated some curiosity, but aptly, pace-bowling ruled the first men’s or women’s Test match played at the WACA since December 2017.

After being left out of Australia’s previous Test match in India, Brown quickly regained her place and created an opportunity when Mooney dropped starter Anneke Bosch at third slip.

However, a feisty Brown outclassed her, and South Africa, without skipper Laura Wolvaardt, was in dire need of Wolvaardt to turn around her lackluster performance on the tour. On the next delivery to Brown, who concluded an incredible opening performance with 2 for 5 from five overs, she failed to take advantage of a drop from a diving Healy.

When Sune Luus and Tazmin Brits took the field and defied Australia for 12 overs, it seemed as though South Africa was on the rise. But the Brits could not turn over the strike, and they managed only five runs off of forty-eight balls before Sutherland trapped them for a leg before wicket that was later overturned on DRS. Tucker made a terrifying debut as South Africa’s first ball when she chopped against her stumps.

Luus, who made a smooth 26 runs as the only batter who didn’t seem intimidated by the circumstances, was persuaded to drive by Sutherland in order to give him more practice catching slips.

With little fight, South Africa looked certain to be humiliatingly bowled out in the course of a session. Although they managed to reach their lowest Test score of 89 against New Zealand in Durban in 1972, they struggled to lunch at 55 for 8.

After being tricked into driving a wide ball, Litchfield edged to third slip, but Klaas fought back with the ball and maintained her chokehold. Ellyse Perry and McGrath were easily removed by Klass, who was in form, as South Africa surged back into the match.

However, Mooney and Healy’s experience was evident as they helped Australia out of a difficult situation before taking decisive action. With a decisive smash through midwicket, Healy, in usual aggressive fashion, raced to a 59-ball half-century, and shortly after, Mooney lifted the bat as well.

Under the sweltering sun, South Africa appeared to be only going through the motions when Nadine de Klerk unexpectedly produced a wicket, trapping Mooney at a wide slip.

Healy looked reasonably exhausted, and she gave up just before the end, but her team was still in command.

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