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Cricket - 05. February 2008.

Australia level the series 1-1

England v Australia Women 2nd ODI, MCG

February 4

Three Peregrine falcons were on the outfield at the MCG this morning ready for their early morning training session, but were soon moved swiftly on because of the second one-day international between England and Australia women’s team.

Australia eased to an 84-run victory over England to level the series 1-1. With three more games to play over the coming week it’s all to play for.

Australia captain Karen Rolton won the toss and opted to bat first on a very flat wicket with a quick outfield.

A good decision as Australia cruised to 240-4 off their fifty overs. Opener Shelley Nitschke was the first to go for the hosts in the fourth over. She was caught by Lydia Greenway fielding at point off the bowling of Jenny Gunn for 12.

That brought Rolton to the crease with Australia 17-1. She made 12 before falling to a yorker from Nicky Shaw as she stepped across her stumps on the last ball of the ninth over.

Lisa Sthalekar joined opener Alex Blackwell in the middle, who was scoring slowly but steadily. Together they added 93 for the third wicket before Sthalekar (45) fell to Holly Colvin’s bowling in the 30th over trying to cut a ball pitching on leg stump and missing.

Kate Blackwell joined her twin sister with Australia in a strong position on 129-3. They put England’s bowlers under pressure scoring quickly and easily adding 111 to Australia’s total. Kate made her second ODI half-century off 54 balls in the 49th over. Alex reached her century in the final over of the game off 157 balls. Two balls later, on the penultimate ball of the innings, she was caught behind by a fantastic diving catch from England’s wicket-keeper Sarah Taylor off the bowling of Gunn.

Kris Britt arrived at the crease to face one ball and Australia finished 240-4. The pick of England’s bowlers was Shaw who was very economical taking 1-27 off her ten. Gunn took 2-39 from her nine overs, while Holly Colvin was the only other bowler to take a wicket.

In reply England failed to build the partnerships required to post the desired total. Opener Sarah Taylor was caught by Nitschke at first slip off Ellyse Perry’s bowling for 9 with England only having 15 on the board. Claire Taylor, coming in at three and England captain Charlotte Edwards, in at four both made nought. Taylor edged one to first slip while Edwards was trapped lbw to Perry, both in the sixth over.

As left-hander Lydia Greenway came to the crease England were 24-3. They put on 41 for the fourth wicket, but Morgan (27) who had batted steadily was caught lbw by Kirsten Pike in the 21st over.

Gunn, suffering from a sore arm, joined Greenway in the middle hoping for a similar partnership to yesterday, but three overs later Greenway (27) was run out after pushing for a single. Gunn had pushed the ball to square leg, but Greenway was halfway down the wicket before she was sent back. Perry gathered the ball and threw to Lisa Sthalekar who knocked off the bails, leaving England floundering on 84-5.

Three balls later Gunn (12) was trapped lbw by Sampson as she tried to play across the line. Shaw joined Caroline Atkins who had come in at seven for the visitors, and they put on 13 before Shaw (11) was stumped by Leonie Coleman as she attempted to hoist the ball. Rosalie Birch was next in for England and her and Atkins tried to pull it back for England. They shared a partnership of 47 with Atkins making 22 before she was dismissed by a diving catch from Perry running in from long-off as Atkins tried to hit the ball over the bowler.

England were 145-8 as Laura Marsh headed to the crease. She and Birch added 11 to the total before Birch was run out at the striker’s end by the substitute fielder Sarah Andrews.

Colvin came in at the end and played defensive shots to the final two balls of the over. But it was all over on the first ball of the 46th over as Marsh lofted the ball straight to Alex Blackwell fielding at long-off. England were all out for 156.

Perry was the pick of the Australian bowlers taking three wickets for 24 runs off her eight overs. Sthalekar took 2-40 while Emma Sampson, Pike and Nitschke all took one apiece.

After the game Edwards commented:”It was a complete reverse of yesterday. Australia came out exactly as I thought they would. We weren’t at our best today, which is where you need to be to beat Australia.

“Before the series I’d have taken 1-1 after the first two games and it’s all to play for in Sydney now.”

Head Coach Mark Dobson added: “It was a disappointing performance with only Nicky Shaw really bowling well. It was important for us to get off to a good start with the run chase, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

“We’re optimistic we can bounce back in the third ODI in Sydney on Thursday.”

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