Australia have kept the women’s Ashes series alive, with a 26-run win over England on Thursday in their second one-day international at the MCG.
Australia posted a challenging target of 267, aided by a brilliant 124 from debutant Nicole Bolton and 56 from Alex Blackwell.
The Aussie bowlers made a perfect start when Holly Ferling cleaned bowled English captain Charlotte Edwards with the first ball of the run chase.
The situation became tougher for England when Ellyse Perry was introduced in the eighth over and immediately trapped the dangerous Lydia Greenway lbw for just four.
England were scoring slowly and, at 2-13, were in danger of losing their first match of the tour.
It was left to Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor to steady the ship. They put on a partnership of 84 and were starting to haul back the momentum. They picked the gaps in the field and Knight battled aggressively. Her half-century contained 10 fours and one giant six over mid-on.
But clean work by Alyssa Healy behind the wicket had Knight (55) stumped off the bowling of Julie Hunter. It was one of two stumpings for Healy for the night, who later removed Anya Shrubsole (7) off a Jessica Jonassen delivery.
Taylor was looking comfortable against the Australian attack. She had put on a half-century partnership with Arran Brindle, before deciding to take a quick single. Bolton swooped on the ball and, with a direct hit from mid-on, ran out England’s star batter for 63.
England were 4-151 and the run rate required was starting to grow. Under pressure, they began to lash out. Arran Brindle (19), Danielle Wyatt (1) and Jenny Gunn (5) were all out in quick succession.
England, however, were being kept in the match by Natalie Sciver.
While the wickets were falling at the other end, Sciver brought up 50 from just 38 balls and kept England’s hopes alive but, eventually, she fell and the tourists were all out for 240.