McGrath anything but average in T20 rise

Tahlia McGrath's rapid rise for Australia is best highlighted the fact she has hit 177 runs in T20s at a strike-rate of 156.63, and is yet to have an average.

TAHLIA MCGRATH
TAHLIA MCGRATH Picture: Albert Perez/Getty Images

Tahlia McGrath looms as the new thorn in England's side with the allrounder determined to ram home Australia's advantage in Adelaide.

McGrath enjoyed the crowning moment of her dominant summer on Thursday, taking 3-26 and hitting 91no to be named player of the match in the Ashes series opener.

The brilliant individual display came on the same night she became Australia's chief T20 allrounder, with Ellyse Perry left out.

Out of Australia's team herself before the start of the summer, McGrath has now hit 177 runs at a strike-rate of 156.63 in T20 internationals.

Remarkably, she is also yet to hold a T20 average, with the South Australian not dismissed in any of her four matches for Australia.

"I'm susceptible to full tosses, and short and out wide I'm rubbish at," McGrath quipped when asked if she had a weakness to prompt a dismissal.

McGrath has largely put her summer form down to a willingness to embrace the mental side of cricket, working with a sports psychologist over the past year.

The selectors' faith in her is also key, before coach Matt Mott bumped her up to No.3 in the order with Beth Mooney injured and Meg Lanning opening.

"At the team meeting yesterday, I saw my name at No.3 and had to double check. I wasn't really sure if that was legit or not," McGrath said.

"We've got so much confidence in this side, that no matter who bats at the top of the order, we know they're going to do the job."

McGrath's knock came after she swung the match with the ball, removing Danni Wyatt and Nat Sciver for 70 and 32 to half England's momentum.

England also know they must find a way to break McGrath's streak after her 49-ball 91 helped Australia chase down their 4-169..

With two T20s across Saturday and Sunday in Adelaide, Australia could conceivably take a 6-0 points lead into the Test match and have a fourth straight retention of the urn within touching distance.

England's old nemesis Perry is also expected to be recalled alongside McGrath for both the Tests and ODIs that follow in the multi-format series.

"She's just quite a hard batter to bowl at," England opener and former Strikers teammate Tammy Beaumont said of McGrath.

"She just seems to move around a lot. You're trying to hit off stump, she's hitting that through cover and backward point.

"Then you bring square leg up and she's moving over to the offside.

"We'll come back with something for sure. There's two (T20) games left. I'm sure we might give her an average."