Fields steals Brunt's thunder
England paid a heavy penalty for giving centurion Jodie Fields three lifelines as she and Rachael Haynes put on a world record sixth wicket partnership of 229 to swing the momentum towards Australia.
The tourists' captain was dropped twice by Caroline Atkins and once by Claire Taylor before she finally perished for a wonderful 139, becoming Katherine Brunt's fifth victim as Australia finished day one on 271 for seven.
Haynes, on debut, was not afforded such generosity in her 98, an innings which started full of caution but became free-flowing until she became bogged down in the nervous 90s. She eventually finished just two short of a deserved century when she lost her head attempting to heave Laura Marsh towards the new Graeme Hick Pavilion.
It could have been all so different for England, however, after an inspired Brunt left Australia reeling at 28 for five.
Brunt, player of the match in the recent World Twenty20 Final, put the hosts in the driving seat as early as the sixth ball of the game when she induced Alex Blackwell to nick behind for a duck.
There were further celebrations in the third over when Brunt trapped the dangerous Karen Rolton leg before without scoring, the left-hander paying for attempting to work a straight ball through midwicket.
Brunt continued to wreak havoc as Australia slipped further into the mire at 19 for three. Having been hit for a rare four by Lisa Sthakelar, Brunt got her revenge next ball when the all-rounder unwisely padded up to a delivery that nipped back.
Brunt's new ball bowler Nicky Shaw got in on the act in the next over, the 12th, as Australia lost their fourth wicket. Opener Shelley Nitschke had watched three batters depart whilst at the non-striker's end but she was the next to go, her defensive push flying hard to third slip where Caroline Atkins took a smart catch.
England took their fifth wicket of the session when Brunt got one to jag back through Leah Poulton's limp defence.
Pugnacious Australia captain Fields mounted a much needed riposte by driving three boundaries in the 18th over - the third of which elegantly pierced the covers.
England would regret giving her a life in the 23rd over. Having reached 21, Fields wafted at Jenny Gunn but Claire Taylor failed to grasp a difficult chance at first slip.
Growing in confidence with every sweetly-timed boundary and stolen single, Fields ploughed on and reached her half-century, which included nine fours, with a punch through midwicket off Laura Marsh in the 36th over.
Not entirely convincing in her stance with her hands away from her body, Fields' unusual set-up lulls you into a false sense of security. Make no mistake, the girl can play, particularly if you let her drive or clip off her legs.
Haynes was happy to play the supporting role on her Test debut, scampering between the wickets and chipping in with the occasional boundary. An airy drive off Gunn that flashed through the vacant second slip area in the 51st over brought up the 100-partnership, although if that was fortunate a cover drive off the final delivery was much more classical.
Haynes followed Fields to her half-century in the 59th over by carting the below-par Holly Colvin through mid-on.
Fields received another reprieve as she entered the 90s, dropped by Atkins at mid-off as she tried to loft Marsh over the top. But she would not have to wait long for her hundred, smashing a Marsh a full-toss for four to spark joyous celebrations.
The skipper added five more boundaries before Brunt finally brought her 254-ball vigil to an end.