The decision to play the lone women’s Ashes Test on a used pitch has sparked anger in the cricket world.
England will look to spin their way to victory on a worn pitch in Taunton, in the lone Test of the women's Ashes series beginning on Thursday.
A pitch that was used for the World Cup clash between New Zealand and Afghanistan 40 days' prior, had both captains, on inspection 24-hours prior, expecting spin to play a significant part in the result.
With Australia needing just a draw to retain the Ashes after winning the three ODIs, England were unlikely to prepare the sort of flat track that led to the most recent Women's Tests in Canterbury and North Sydney being played out as draws.
There is unlikely to be great assistance in the strip for Australia's vaunted new-ball threat and instead much of the expectation will go on the shoulders of their slow bowlers, including the returning Sophie Molineux.
The decision to use a worn pitch was slammed by some sections of the Australian cricket public.
Wisden correspondent Adam Collins tweeted: “Meg Lanning confirms that a used pitch is being dished up for them here tomorrow. F*** sake.”
Others described it as ‘insulting’ and a ‘joke’ that the match would not be afforded a fresh pitch.
England getting photo ready for the #Ashes Test. Lanning just said it’s a used pitch, which is concerning. Hope we are not about to get another dud pitch for a women’s Test. pic.twitter.com/g3elEPFWwr— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) July 17, 2019
Meg Lanning diplomatic
"The last few Test matches haven't been as a good a contest, but I've no doubt this match will be different to that," Meg Lanning said.
"There's the potential it could turn later in the Test which is pretty exciting with both sides going out there to win, I think it will be a great contest.
"We're happy playing whatever comes our way. I think it will be a really good contest and it will play reasonably well early on, it's just towards the back end we'll just have to see how it goes.
"We feel we've got a good attack with the ball, both spin and pace and the batting lineup's really strong as well."
England will feel a turning deck could play into their hands with Sophie Ecclestone and late addition to their squad Kirstie Gordon, who suffered a stress fracture to the back last year, both potential match winners.
Skipper Heather Knight said England will look to pick a side to take advantage of the conditions, which could well see them rely on this unusual dual slow-left-arm combination.
"It looks a little bit dry, I think it will generally play ok to start with but obviously we'll have to see how it adapts as the game goes on," Knight said.
"We obviously need a result so we want a pitch that will be conducive to that, but I think the last few pitches we've played on have been very flat and slow ... I think it will be slightly different to that.
"We will work out what our best combination is to get 20 wickets, which we have to do to get a result."