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The Southern Stars have stumbled in their first contest of the Women’s Ashes series against their English counterparts. They will be rueing the four run outs that stalled their momentum and ultimately left them 30 runs short of what was probably required on this pitch.
Perry didn’t make a false shot in her 78 (96) until she showed a little more aggression with a slog sweep that went straight to the fielder. The innings extending her world record run of six straight half centuries, and showing how much she is thriving in the number 4 spot for Australia.
After Blackwell was run out for 58 (84) a disease seemed to spread through the team. After a good cameo from Jess Cameron 23 (22), three more run outs for scores of one, seven and one didn’t offer enough support for Alyssa Healy, who looked great pushing the scoring along including a lovely reverse sweep, to finish not out with 29 (25)
Australia were going to need to be at their best to contain an excellent all round English team, led by Charlotte Edwards. Perry seemed to kick things off in the right fashion dismissing the experienced captain for 15 in the seventh over.
With wickets the name of the game, it looked like we might be able to stay on top with regular breakthroughs. Sarah Coyte obliged taking out the other opener Heather Knight for 12, followed by the off spinner Erin Osborne taking two wickets in her first two overs, leaving England 4/80.
Enter Lydia Greenway and Natalie Sciver. Greenway played the rock, just ticking the strike over and holding up an end, while Sciver played an innings that Bevan or Hussey would be proud of. Starting out slowly, worked the singles and took momentum away from the bowlers, before taking task to the Aussies hitting 9 fours on her way to 66 (75) including stepping down the wicket to send Holy Ferling back over her head for one bounce over the rope.
The breakthrough came in the form of a lobbed full toss from Kristen Beams which Greenway hit straight to mid-wicket, which definitely gave the Aussies a lift.
Unfortunately the bowlers couldn’t hold discipline on their line and length. Despite finally getting rid of Sciver, and Osborne figures moving to 3-28 off 5.1 overs Australia just couldn’t stem the flow.
England were 6/218 needing 21 off 39 and if there was a chance to get back in it, we needed another wicket straight away. Georgia Elwiss had a different idea and finished the game very professionally with 25* (20) including 5 fours, two of those consecutive to finish the game with 26 balls to spare.
The all-round skills produced were elite from both teams, showing why the women’s cricket is growing so quickly. There must be some credit shown to the International Women’s Cricket Council, Cricket Australia and the England and Wales Cricket Board for lining the men’s and women’s ashes series together. Being pro-active in making such tweaks to the system has given Women’s cricket the head of steam it is currently experiencing.
I’m not only looking forward to seeing if the women can come back as strong as the men did, but also looking forward to the first installment of the Women’s Big Bash League that is just around the corner.