England Women recorded their first victory on their current tour of Australia as they beat the Australian U21s, the Shooting Stars, by 75 runs at Geelong Cricket Ground.
Charlotte Edwards won the toss for England and elected to bat on a good batting wicket. Sarah Taylor and Beth Morgan opened the batting for England and settled in easily at the crease. Taylor played determinedly hitting out over the top before being caught by Bolton off the bowling of Villani for 56, leaving England on 134-1.
Morgan batted exceptionally well, working the ball and playing a series of sweep shots to the boundary. She made 70 before being bowled by Rene Farrell. Her innings earned her the Player of the Match award.
“I’m obviously pleased with my performance,” she said after the game “but the overall victory is what’s important. We batted well to post a decent score and then restricted them in the field. It’s great to record a win before the Twenty20 on Friday against Australia at the MCG.”
Edwards also played well, timing the ball to perfection and hitting smoothly. She made 31 before being dismissed to a fantastic catch by Hall. Left-hander Lydia Greenway, coming in at five, struck the ball nicely and found her rhythm before she was run-out for 31.
A bizarre hat-trick of run-outs followed as England lost six wickets in four overs towards the end of their innings with a frenetic last over yielding four runs and four run-outs as England finished on 249-9.
In reply the Shooting Stars got off to a good start, scoring steadily and keeping up with the run-rate until just after the first drinks break when Rosalie Birch got the breakthrough England needed and dismissed opener Rachael Haynes for 37, leaving the home side 78-1. Bolton went soon after when Claire Taylor took a fantastic catch at mid-on off Birch’s bowling to dismiss her for nothing.
Villani was run-out as Birch cleverly deflected the ball off her own bowling onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end, leaving the Shooting Stars on 87-3. A fantastic spell from Birch who finished with figures of 3-21 from her 10 overs.
Laura Marsh bowled tightly to restrict the U21s from scoring too freely. Despite not picking up any wickets, she only gave away 23 runs from her eight overs. Isa Guha and captain Edwards chipped in to take two wickets apiece while two fantastic bits of fielding saw Greenway run out Melton and Caroline Atkins run out Kimmance. The youngsters battled, but were all out for 174, giving England their first win of the tour.
Head coach Dobson commented: “It was a better performance with the opening partnership between Sarah and Beth setting the tone. At various stages throughout the three matches we have either batted, bowled or fielded well. Now we need to combine each of these disciplines consistently throughout the forthcoming series.”
A happy Edwards added: “I’m really pleased with how the girls responded. Our batting was positive and we’re back to somewhere near our best. Apart from the first 15 overs in the field, we bowled with discipline, especially the spinners Rosalie and Laura.”