England, again fielding all 13 players currently in Australia, were put into the field as the home side won the toss and elected to bat on a very good wicket at the Albert Cricket Ground in Melbourne. England’s opening pair Nicky Shaw and Jenny Gunn bowled tightly in the first five overs, but it was Isa Guha, who came on first change who took the first wicket leaving the Shooting Stars on 32-1.
The youngsters went on to score steadily throughout their innings with Allysa Healy hitting 45 before being caught by Rosalie Birch off the bowling of Laura Marsh, who has turned her hand to spin since last summer, leaving the home side 122-4. Jess Cameron, coming in at number 8 for the home side hit 53 not out to see her side home to 214-7 off fifty overs.
Stephanie Davies* bowled her first overs in an England shirt and after a nervous start, settled into a good rhythm taking two for 28 off 10. Together with Marsh, she minimised the Shooting Stars scoring, and, with Gunn bowling well at the death England did well to restrict Australia U21 to the total of 214.
In reply England’s batsmen started poorly with the top three going cheaply. Sarah Taylor was the first to go for 12 off 9 balls, leaving England 15-1. Her opening partner, Beth Morgan, who is suffering with a back problem and therefore didn’t bowl, was clean-bowled by Rene Farrell for 9. Claire Taylor was the third batsman out for just 16, caught off the bowling of Farrell, who finished with 3-22, and as Lydia Greenway went for a duck two balls later England were left reeling on 46-4.
A stand of 40 between captain Charlotte Edwards and Gunn was brought to an end when Edwards was trapped lbw by Delissa Kimmince for 22, bringing Caroline Atkins to the crease and England on 86-5. Atkins and Gunn put on just five for the sixth wicket until Cameron bowled Gunn for 14. Shaw and Atkins put on 37 in just seven overs with Shaw making a quick-fire 19 off 25 balls, before being caught mid-on off the bowling of Cameron as she tried to work the ball through mid-wicket.
Guha and Atkins worked hard at the end adding 22 for the last wicket before Guha was bowled by Jo-Ann Verrall, leaving England 52 runs short.
England captain, Edwards commented: “We’re obviously bitterly disappointed. We were happy with our fielding and bowling – it was a huge improvement on Friday’s performance, but again our batting was well below-par with some soft dismissals. We were always up with the run-rate, but we didn’t establish any decent partnerships until it was too late.
“We’ll be working hard over the next couple of days and we’ll look forward to showing what we’re capable of on Wednesday.”
Assistant Coach Mark Lane, who arrived late Friday night added: ”We’ve been knocked down, but it’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up. It’s not all doom and gloom – we need to stick together and stand up and be counted. We’ll practise really hard tomorrow and come out fighting on Wednesday.”