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Cricket - 17. February 2008.

Ashes Test Day 2 report

England continued their hold over Australia on the second day of the Ashes Test match in Bowral, finishing the day 222-7. The visitors lost seven wickets throughout the day and added 200 to the overnight total of 22.

photo Don Miles

After a shaky start, which involved a five minute rain delay in the first session just after play had commenced, England lost opener Caroline Atkins to a catch by Leonie Coleman off Elysse Perry’s bowling for 15. It was a first test wicket for both players and England found themselves 25-1.

Beth Morgan (10) fell in the following over to a ball from debutante Emma Sampson which crashed into her off-stump, leaving England 26-2.

Claire Taylor, coming in at three and captain Charlotte Edwards, in at four, put in a very controlled batting display in the overcast early morning conditions to see England through to lunch. At lunch England were 76-2 with Edwards unbeaten on 28 and Taylor 22 not out.

Australia captain Karen Rolton rotated her bowlers frequently to prevent fatigue and on a pitch that at that stage was conducive to seamers due to the rain and moist conditions there was a lot of movement in the air for the swing bowlers, Perry and Sampson.

After the break, England continued to take advantage of any loose balls and found the gaps in Australia’s field. Both batters, displaying a variety of shots passed the fifty-mark in quick succession of each other halfway through the second session. Edwards reached her seventh Test half-century in 114 balls, while Taylor struck hers shortly afterwards in 119 balls.

Looking extremely strong in the middle, they pushed England through to 173-2 at tea, putting on 97 runs in the second session.

The 150-partnership for Edwards and Taylor came in the third over after tea off Perry’s bowling, just after Sampson had taken the new ball.

Three overs later Australia were celebrating as Coleman took a catch off Perry’s bowling to dismiss Edwards. The England captain had gone for a cut shot but top edged the ball to the Australian keeper. She made 94, just six short of her fourth Test century and England were 185-3.

Edwards and Taylor had put on 159, a record partnership for the third wicket against Australia. The previous was 137, held by Rachael Heyhoe-Flint and Edna Barker scored in Melbourne in the winter of 1968-69.

With the sun coming out intermittently, Rolton brought on spinners Lisa Sthalekar and Shelley Nitschke to bowl Australia through to the end.

Sarah Taylor replaced Edwards at the crease. They put on 31 for the fifth wicket before Claire was caught by Coleman off Sthalekar’s bowling for 79. She had worked hard for her runs and was the mainstay of England’s batting line up lasting five hours and 14 minutes in the middle.

Nicky Shaw, who had joined Greenway at the crease fell first to a ball by Sthalekar and then Greenway was caught in close by Kate Blackwell off the bowling of Nitschke in the following over.

Rosalie Birch, who had come in at six for England with three overs remaining for the day was joined by Laura Marsh and they saw England through to 222-7 at stumps on day two. Birch was one not out and Marsh was on two.

Sthalekar was the pick of Australia’s bowlers taking 3-39 from 19 overs. Schoolgirl Perry returned figures of 2-46 from 20 overs, while Sampson and Nitschke took one apiece.

Claire Taylor, England’s stalwart in the middle said: “My feelings from today are mixed. I’m happy to have batted for so long with Lottie but disappointed that I didn’t see the day through and help the team into a stronger position.”

England’s acting head coach, Mark Lane commented after the day’s play: “The team has played with a lot of discipline, which is apparent with the stand of 159 between Claire and Charlotte.

“The batters have played with the same consistency and intensity we displayed in our bowling performance yesterday, which are both areas we have been working on. The foundations have been laid for us to build a decent first innings lead and put us in a strong position for this Test match.”


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