England Women thrashed New Zealand A by 97 runs to win their practise game in New Zealand on an overcast day at Lincoln University.
England used the opportunity to play 13 and give newcomer Charlotte Russell an opportunity to play with the full squad before the ODI series against New Zealand starts on Sunday February 22.
Nicky Shaw was rested for the fixture after bowling much more than her usual quota throughout the Ashes victory. Captain Charlotte Edwards batted, but didn’t field, so Claire Taylor took on the captaincy.
Katherine Brunt made her first appearance in an England shirt following 15 months on the sidelines with a prolapsed disc. She bowled eight overs in two spells of four, one to open the innings and then again at the death, taking one wicket.
England Women won the toss and elected to bat first on a slow pitch that kept low. Sarah Taylor opened the batting with Beth Morgan, but both fell early on. Taylor (2) was the first to go trapped lbw by Prashilla Mistry, while Morgan was bowled by Sian Ruck for eight and England were struggling on 15-2 after 9.2 overs.
Claire Taylor, coming in at three, got herself in and then scored quickly, making 62 off 72 balls, including ten fours before being caught at extra cover by Ingrid Cronin-Knight off Lucy Doolan’s bowling. She shared a partnership of 107 for the third wicket with Jenny Gunn, and as Lydia Greenway headed to the crease England were looking strong on 122-3.
But a mini-collapse followed and England lost five wickets in quick succession, adding just nine runs. Greenway and Rosalie Birch both failed to score while Charlotte Edwards put on four. Gunn was run-out by Katie Perkins just three short of her half-century.
A partnership of 41 between Caroline Atkins and Steph Davies pushed England beyond 150. Both players scored quickly between the wickets, working for their runs. Davies made 25 off 33 balls before she was caught by Perkins off Ruck’s bowling. Atkins was unbeaten at the end on 23 as England finished 183-9 from 50 overs.
The pick of the bowlers for New Zealand A were Ruck and Doolan. Ruck took 3-28 from her ten overs, while Doolan returned fantastic figures of 3-21 off ten. Mistry and Abby Burrows took one apiece to keep England under 200.
After the break England came out strongly to defend their total. The visitors rattled through New Zealand A dismissing them all for 86 off 37.2 overs. Cronin-Wright (12), Megan Murphy (18) and Rachel Priest (22) were the only three batters to reach double figures.
Isa Guha was again the star for England taking three wickets for nine off 6.2 overs. Gunn and Russell took two wickets each while Brunt and Marsh both chipped in with one.
Post match Claire Taylor commented, “I’m really happy with the professional performance from the team. However there are still areas for improvement with both bat and ball;losing five wickets for nine runs in the middle order and bowling too many wides.
“It was great to have Katherine back in the side and Isa continued to bowl well with the new ball.
“We’ll take confidence from this into the series and look forward to skipper Charlotte and vice-skipper Nicky rejoining the team.”
photos Janos Schmidt