NSW Breakers and Sydney Sixers allrounder Ashleigh Gardner received her first Baggy Green cap on Thursday becoming the second Indigenous female cricketer to play Test cricket after Faith Thomas AM.
The 22-year-old off-spinner was one of three debutants named for Australia against England in the one-off Ashes Test at The County Ground, Taunton. Victorian fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck and left-arm finger spinner, allrounder Sophie Molineux were the other two debutants.
Ms Thomas, a right-arm fast bowler, played one Test against England in 1958. Gardner is the 174th female player to represent Australia at Test level.
Both women join former fast bowler, now coach, Jason Gillespie as the three Indigenous players to represent Australia in women’s and men’s Test cricket.
Gardner joined Breakers captain, wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy and batter Rachael Haynes in the Australian XI for the Test at Taunton. The off-spinning allrounder was one of three frontline spinners named.
Australia won the toss in Taunton and elected to bat first with a win retaining the Women's Ashes.
Healy (58) opened the innings and brought up her first Test fifty during the first session. Gardner was listed to bat at No. 8.
Former NSW Blues and Australian One-Day allrounder Dan Christian presented Gardner with her Baggy Green before the start of play on Thursday.
Christian and Gardner share a special bond. Both captained the Australian Indigenous Men’s and Women’s teams on a commemorative tour of the United Kingdom in June last year.
The tour commemorated the 150th anniversary of the 1868 Pioneers, a group of 13 Aboriginal men, who became the first Australian sporting team to tour overseas. Last June was also the first time an Indigenous women’s cricket team had toured the UK.
Blues left-arm quick Mitchell Starc was also at The County Ground on Thursday to present Vlaeminck with her Baggy Green cap.
Gardner makes her Test debut more than two years since her International debut for Australia against New Zealand in a T20 International at the MCG.
She has since played 24 One-Day and 23 T20 Internationals for Australia scoring a combined 578 runs and claiming 53 wickets across both formats at an average of 23.5.
Australia: Alyssa Healy (wk), Nicole Bolton, Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Beth Mooney, Sophie Molineux, Ashleigh Gardner, Jess Jonassen, Megan Schutt, Tayla Vlaeminck.