England’s women are on track to achieve something their male counterparts don’t look like doing any time soon – beating Australia in a cricket series.
The visitors enjoyed a comfortable seven wicket win in the opening one day international at the MCG on Sunday, chasing down Australia’s modest 3-209 with more than three overs to spare.
An unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 142 by Lydia Greenway (69 not out) and Arran Brindle (64no) ensured England a dominant position in the multi-format series.
After winning the Test in Perth and now the first one dayer, they need just one more victory to retain The Ashes.
But Greenway said the series was far from over ahead of the one day clash at the MCG on Thursday.
“It is very pleasing that we got the win today,” she said.
“But we are not going to underestimate the Australian team. We know they are a very good team, we still have a big job to do. We will be re-focusing in the next couple of days and looking forward to Thursday.”
Australian batter Alex Blackwell, who starred with an unbeaten 82, said the Southern Stars were down but not out.
“We are very disappointed with the loss but the series is still alive,” she said.
“We play to win every game, we can’t look ahead of the next game and that is all we will do.”
The Greenway-Brindle partnership mirrored the 141 run stand by Blackwell and Ellyse Perry (65no) in the home team’s innings but England were always in front in this run chase.
Charlotte Edwards (41) and Heather Knight (9) got the visitors of to a solid start, putting on 50 for the first wicket.
Julie Hunter made the initial breakthrough in the 18th over, having Knight caught at slip.
With just a further 18 runs on the board Sarah Taylor was then caught by Meg Lanning off the bowling of Erin Osborne before Edwards was trapped in front by Holly Ferling.
With England at 3-68, Australia were well in the game but a missed run out and caught and bowled opportunity before Greenway had reached double figures proved vital in the wash-up.
Earlier Australia fashioned a middling total after a slow start.
Blackwell came to the crease with Australia at 2-33 and struggling to break through against the consistent line and length of the English bowlers.
She initially teamed with Jessica Cameron to put on a partnership of 35 before Cameron was dismissed for 21 to leave the home side at a sluggish 3-68 in the 25th over.
But Blackwell and Perry ensured Australia would at least have something to defend.
With her elevation to the captain’s role when Jodie Fields withdrew from the match with a finger injury, Lanning at 21 years and 200 days, became the youngest person to captain Australia in either the men’s or women’s game.