Australia women 296 for 6 (Haynes 89, Perry 67, Bolton 66, Healy 56, Gunn 4-55) beat England women 209 (Brunt 52, Wilson 37, Schutt 4-26, Beams 2-38) by 75 runs via DL method
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
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If Rachael Haynes is Australia’s temporary captain, then she has put a permanent stamp on the women’s Ashes series. A barnstorming Haynes innings pushed a target beyond England’s reach and gave the hosts two from two in Coffs Harbour.
Haynes’ 89 off just 56 balls, aided by 67 from Ellyse Perry, ensured Australia neared 300 after Alyssa Healy (56) and Nicole Bolton (66) provided an excellent opening stand to set the hosts on the path to a big total.
At the same time, Haynes more than vindicated the selection decision to hand her the captaincy from outside the XI in the injury-enforced absence of the team’s long-term leader Meg Lanning.
Victory arrived in spite of the loss of Perry from the bowling attack in the early overs, when the allrounder twice delivered inadvertent beamers with a wet ball after a rain delay. Haynes debated the umpires’ decision with some vehemence due to the prevailing conditions, but was unable to change the verdict.
Into the breach stepped Megan Schutt, who nabbed a pair of new ball lbws to set England’s chase off-balance, before returning to remove Katherine Brunt, the only Englishwoman to pass 50 on the night. Schutt’s efforts were welcome in greasy conditions that did not afford much help to the spin bowlers.
Schutt had wasted little time in striking when England began their chase, pinning Lauren Whitfield, so fluent at Allan Border Field, lbw in the very first over of the innings with an inswinger. Play was held up for some time by the rain delay but no overs were lost, however the adjustment to the wet ball cost Haynes the use of Perry due to the high full tosses.
The loss of Perry was offset when Schutt foumd another bending inswinger to confound Tammy Beaumont, as the required run rate quickly started to creep up. Neither Sarah Taylor nor Knight could get going with the sort of run-making pace required, leaving much in the hands of the middle order.
While Brunt and Fran Wilson did their best, Schutt had overs up her sleeve that were to be used to good effect. Wilson fell first, before Brunt’s stumps were disturbed in a moment that left little more than mopping up operations for a bowling attack grateful to be defending such a tall total in Perry’s absence.
The day had begun with some unwelcome news for the hosts, as the pivotal player of game one with both ball and bat, Ashleigh Gardner, was out of the match after failing a concussion test. Gardner had top-edged a Brunt delivery into her helmet and was ruled out after what were described as “mild concussion symptoms”. She is expected to be fit for game three on Sunday.
Sent in to bat by Heather Knight, the Australians made a swift start but, unlike England in Brisbane, were able to make the most of the platform provided by Healy and Bolton, who were not separated until the 20th over of the innings and just two runs shy of a century opening stand.
After Healy’s exit, Bolton and Perry built further momentum, keeping plenty of wickets in hand so that when Bolton’s exit was swiftly followed by that of Elyse Villani, there was still plenty of room for Australia’s middle order to go on the attack. The person to do this was Haynes, stepping up admirably as captain with an innings that sent England’s fielders scurrying all over the expanses of Coffs Harbour International Stadium.
So cleanly did Haynes strike the ball that the powerful Perry was placed to some degree in the shade, but she remained in the middle until the tally had reached 250 with 27 balls remaining. A further 46 runs piled up from those last 4.3 overs, with Haynes manipulating the strike expertly to ensure she faced the majority. At the end of the innings Haynes walked off satisfied, but not quite as much as when she again left the field as a victorious captain under lights. Australia have stolen the early march.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo