By Priya Nagi: Tammy Beaumont's sensational century stole the spotlight on day two of the one-off Ashes Test match between England and Australia at Trent Bridge on Friday. Beaumont's unbeaten 100 guided England to a strong position as they finished the day at 218-2 in response to Australia's mammoth first-innings total of 473.
Beaumont's century was not only significant for the match but also marked a remarkable achievement for her personally. With this hundred, she joined an elite group of England players, including Heather Knight, Jos Buttler, and Dawid Malan, who have scored centuries in all three formats of the game.
Australia had set a formidable target with their highest-ever first-innings total in women's Test match history. However, England's aggressive approach from the start and their refusal to back down allowed them to stay in the contest. Even after losing Emma Lamb for just 10 runs in the 10th over, England continued their assault.
Heather Knight contributed a valuable 57 runs in a partnership of 115 with Beaumont. Australia's bowlers, despite having two more spinners than England, struggled to contain the English batters. Beaumont, who was given a reprieve on 61 after Australia decided against reviewing a catch, showcased her resilience and determination.
England will resume their innings on day three with Beaumont still at the crease and joined by all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt, who played an entertaining innings of 41 not out from 44 balls.
Earlier in the day, Annabel Sutherland made history by becoming the youngest woman to score an Ashes Test century. The 21-year-old finished unbeaten on 137, playing a crucial role in Australia's commanding total. Sutherland's century was the fastest by an Australian in women's Test history and the first by a player batting at No.8.
Sutherland's knock further solidified her status as one of Australia's brightest talents. She has proven her abilities with both bat and ball, previously swinging a Test match against England with her bowling prowess. This century showcased her batting skills and hinted at her potential to bat higher up the order in the future.
Sophie Ecclestone, England's star spinner, claimed five wickets for 129 runs but struggled to trouble Sutherland, who remained composed and in control throughout her innings.
Sutherland's only moment of concern came when she narrowly escaped a catch after reaching her century. With the match finely poised, both teams will be eager to make an impact on day three as the battle for Ashes supremacy intensifies.