No hard feelings from snubbed Ashes hero

Warren Barnsley
Beth Mooney celebrates as England's Sophie Ecclestone reacts to losing to Australia in the Ashes

She went from outcast to Ashes-clinching hero in the space of a series but Beth Mooney understands it's all part of being involved in a talent-rich Australian women's team.

Opening batter Mooney smashed an unbeaten 86 runs off 56 balls to propel Australia to a six-wicket victory over England in the first of three Twenty20 matches on Friday, with the hosts claiming an unassailable 8-4 lead in the multi-format Ashes.

Mooney endured a difficult start to the series when she was dropped for three one-day matches, before scoring a century in a practice match to earn a Test berth.

The 23-year-old was selected ahead of star top-order player Alex Blackwell in Sydney on Friday but made the most of her recall by breaking the record for highest score in a T20 in Australia.

She said she has no hard feelings about being made to wait for her opportunity.

"That's the nature of the beast of elite cricket," Mooney told reporters.

"Someone has to miss out and unfortunately that was me. Whilst that was disappointing, the girls won the series 2-1 and really made a statement.

"I was really happy to get given a opportunity and really happy to take it.

"It's disappointing (to get dropped), but pretty exciting being part of a women's Ashes campaign."

Positive selection headaches have been an ongoing challenge for Australian captain Rachael Haynes this series.

Veteran Blackwell's omission came as a surprise, with established players Ashleigh Gardner, Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton and Tahlia McGrath also being left out of sides at various stages of the contest.

Haynes said team balance was behind Blackwell's absence.

"We went with an extra all-rounder as opposed to a frontline batter. So we had our top six in mind and she wasn't going to bat in that top six, so we opted for an all-rounder," she said.

"At the start of the series, we said we wanted to pick our best XI for the conditions and also format.

"There's been a lot of tough calls and it's probably one of the least likeable things about this role.

"But to be honest, the team's responded really well to it. Credit to Beth to come out and do that today. She had to be very patient."

Haynes said the remaining two matches in Canberra on Sunday and Tuesday would be used to help lock down an XI for next year's World T20.