It has been a long time coming, but Sarah Aley is officially an Australian player after making her well-earned ODI debut against Pakistan in the Women's World Cup.
Aley was called-up to the Australian team for their series against New Zealand earlier this year, but wasn't selected to play. After being named in the squad for the World Cup in England and Wales, Aley waited patiently through the first three games before being presented with a cap by former Australian captain Margaret Jennings in Leicester overnight.
Australia opted to bat first in their fourth group game against Pakistan. Batting at number ten behind Sixers WBBL teammate Ashleigh Gardner, Aley's first action as an Australian player was a batting partnership with another Sixers teammate Alyssa Healy.
With Australia 8/239 and 23 balls left in their innings, Aley hit 15 runs from eight balls in a blistering 51-run partnership with Healy as their side ended 50 overs 8/290.
"It was good fun," Aley said of her partnership with Healy.
"I was hoping I wouldn't have to, that our batters would do the job. But it was good fun getting out there with Alyssa at the end and having a bit of a bash."
Ellyse Perry was Australia's top run scorer with 66, while Healy was the most electric with 63 from just 40 balls.
After Perry opened the bowling with Jess Jonassen, Aley was next up and claimed her first international wicket when she dismissed opener Ayesha Zafar thanks to a catch from Elyse Villani.
Aley then took her second when a catch from wicket-keeper Healy removed Sidra Nawaz for four runs. Aley finshed her 10 overs with impressive figures of 2 for 29.
Perry was unable to take a wicket from her 10 overs, but Gardner ended the match with three runs to add to her 22 runs from 13 balls.
Australia eventually won the game by 159 runs to remain undefeated and have already qualified for the semi finals with three games to go in the pool stage.
"It was pretty special," said Aley of her debut after the game. "It's something that has been a long time coming.
"To get out there and play with some of the best players in the country. Something that I will remember for a very long time.
"For me having the five weeks lead in that we had was really good, just to sort of get amongst the group and I guess assess where I was at with everybody else.
"I didn't really feel out of my depth, which was something that was good for me in terms of I felt like if I was given the opportunity I could come in and be able to perform the role that I needed to."
Despite the current World Cup being a 50-over format, Aley credited the WBBL for giving her the platform to shine and an eventual opportunity at international level.
"I was quite content playing state cricket and then obviously the WBBL came along," said Aley.
"I suppose that was something that was a platform that allowed me to perform my role quite well in that format, but obviously still bowling quite well in 50-over cricket for [New South Wales].
Australia's next game is against England in Bristol on July 9. Also overnight, England overcame Marizanne Kapp and Dane Van Niekerk's South Africa by 68 runs.
England set South Africa 374 runs for victory, with Kapp taking three wickets during the host's innings. South Africa fell short of that total with Kapp out for 3 and Van Niekerk 9. South Africa play India next on July 8.