Ireland open tri-series with heavy defeat to world champions Australia

Visitors show their class as new-look Irish batting line-up struggles at Bready

Australia (103-1; 12.5 overs)(Beth Mooney 45*, Meg Lanning 39*; Arlene Kelly 1-19) beat Ireland (99-8; 20 overs)(Rebecca Stokell 22; Alana King 3-9) by nine wickets. Full scorecard here.

For the first time this summer, Ireland were at full strength now exams and injuries had passed, but their biggest test of the summer proved an overwhelming one as world champions Australia coasted to a nine-wicket win in the tri-series at Bready.

Ireland made plenty of changes to their batting line-up which was put in at the toss. The returning Rebecca Stokell and Orla Prendergast - the latter fit enough only to bowl - formed the top three alongside Gaby Lewis as Leah Paul was dropped down the order to play as a spinner. Amy Hunter’s return to the side from GCSE exams was delayed by a quad injury while all-rounder Georgina Dempsey was left out despite impressing earlier in the summer against South Africa.

The new-look line-up struggled, thought, losing three wickets in the powerplay as Australia restricted their hosts to 26 for three off the first six. Alana King was the pick of the bowlers, a day after taking three wickets in an over against Pakistan, finishing with figures on Sunday of 3-9 off four overs.

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Rebecca Stokell top scored for Ireland with 22 as they limped to 99-8 off their 20 overs with just four boundaries hit in the innings.

In response, Alyssa Healy was dismissed as Jane Maguire took a sharp catch at mid off with Arlen Kelly bowling, but Beth Mooney and Meg Lanning proved otherwise untroubled. Mooney in particular was ruthless in punishing the Irish bowlers when they drifted onto her pads with an array of strokes through fine leg and mid wicket.

Ireland are next in action against Pakistan on Tuesday at the Derry venue.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist