Women's Ashes Test delicately poised after opening day at North Sydney Oval

England blew a golden opportunity to assert themselves on day one of the Ashes Test as Australia produced a flurry of late wickets to leave the visitors 7-235 at stumps.

Star all-rounder Ellyse Perry claimed a pair of final-session wickets while debutant Tahlia McGrath chipped in with her second scalp of the day to put the brakes on what had been a promising English start, which earlier on sat comfortably at 1-129.

Most of the damage came once with the second new ball under lights in front of 2805 fans at North Sydney Oval, most of whom hope to witness a win for the home side which would mean Australia retaining the Ashes.

As expected, the pink ball started swinging around in the evening session after Australia had toiled earlier in the day on a dry wicket all but devoid of grass.

"I've found this using the pink ball a little bit in training, some swing more than others and I don't think the first one really swung all that much and the wicket probably wasn't hugely responsive either," Perry said.

"The second one definitely swung a bit more, obviously we were under lights as well but I think the seam was a little bit more raised on that one so it tended to swing a bit more.

"It's pretty even conditions out there for the bat and ball. England batted well at different times, there's definitely enough there to take 20 wickets."

English opener Tammy Beaumont and captain Heather Knight took charge before tea having won the toss and batted, and the pair put on 104 runs for the second wicket, patiently but confidently stroking the ball around the picturesque suburban ground.

It was another debutant in Amanda-Jade Wellington who broke that stand when a sharply turning leg break shaded Beaumont's outside edge before landing snugly in Alex Blackwell's grasp at slip.

Wellington was one of three Test debutants for Australia, alongside McGrath and Beth Mooney who will open the batting with Nicole Bolton.

That meant Sydney juniors Lauren Cheatle and Ashleigh Gardner both missed out on selection.

No Cheatle meant the Aussies had just the three seam options. Megan Schutt was economical and produced her trademark in swing under the lights, but bowled without luck.

Perry and McGrath were complemented by the attacking Wellington, and the metronomic orthodox tweaker Jess Jonassen who grabbed a couple of wickets herself.

She trapped Heather Knight LBW to remove the dangerous stroke maker, before the English middle order failed to take advantage of their solid start.

Georgia Elwiss faced 95 balls for her 27 before skying a ball to square leg, unravelling all of her hard graft.

The classy Natalie Sciver (18) never quite found her rhythm while Sarah Taylor's 29 was effortless but over far too quickly.when she belted one back to Perry who managed to snaffle a catch in her follow through having seemingly not sighted the ball until it struck her on the arm.

"I just slipped a little bit in some footholds on that delivery and my head went down and I lost all sight of it," Perry said.

"I kind of looked up and the lights were a little bit in my eyes. The first time I spotted the ball was just before it hit my arm, rather embarrassingly I managed to catch it.

"It provided a lot of entertainment for everyone and I lost all composure and I'm really glad [captain] Rachael [Haynes] took me off after that.

"Every now and then you bowl some bad ones or you have a bit of luck or something obscure happens and that's what makes the game so fun and entertaining.

"You'd happily get her [Taylor] out any way possible. I don't think it had anything to do with my skill or ability."

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