Monday 18 February 2008 

England's Women Retain The Ashes With Six-Wicket Win

Australia Women 154 (Guha 5-40) & 195-4 dec. (Sthalekar 98, Guha 4-60)
England Women 244 (Edwards 94, C Taylor 79) & 144-4 (C Taylor 64no)
England won by six wickets and retain the Ashes

England's Women retained the Ashes in fine style, beating Australia by six wickets on the final day of the only Test in Bowral, with Claire Taylor scoring her second half-century of the match to bring England home.

Earlier in the day, Lisa Sthalekar fell for 98 as Australia, mindful of the fact that they had to win to regain the Ashes, declared on 231 for nine after Isa Guha took four for 60 to finish with match figures of nine for 100.

Shelley Nitschke scored 36 and Kate Blackwell 33 before Australia's lower order was mopped up by Guha, Holly Colvin (three for 42) and Nicola Shaw (one for 58).

That left England with a victory target of 142 and there would have been some early nerves when Caroline Atkins fell for eight, trapped in front by Ellyse Perry early on.

Taylor, however, was in superb form, and she dominated a partnership of 49 with Beth Morgan (13) before Lydia Greenway struck a sprightly 26 from 32 balls to put England back in the box seat.

Taylor's namesake Sarah was also dismissed for 12, but by that time the result was not in doubt, and it was left to captain Charlotte Edwards, with whom Taylor had added 159 in the first innings, to help her see England home to an excellent win.

It was Taylor who sealed victory with a boundary through point and ensured that England's Women had done what their male counterparts had failed to do - travel to Australia and retain the Ashes.

Isa Guha was named player of the match for her superlative bowling performance.

After the game captain Edwards said: "I’m delighted; almost lost for words. To beat Australia in Australia is a fantastic feeling. We had always said we would come out here and aim to win this match in order to retain the Ashes and that’s what we did today.

"I’m so proud of all my players. We have played some fantastic cricket over these past four days to continually have the upper hand over Australia and to pull through and secure victory today was a great effort.

"We’ll celebrate tonight, but then turn our attentions to New Zealand for the one-day series over there, which starts on Sunday."

Isa Guha, Player of the Match added: "It was brilliant to be playing at The Bradman Oval and it was an extra special win for us because we knew that people were saying we had only come out for the draw as that would have been enough to retain the Ashes. But we always knew that we were playing for a win and it’s great to be part of such a special occasion.

"We fought hard throughout the four days and always came back strong if it looked like Australia were settling.

"I’m pleased that I was able to step up to the mark, but at the end of the day over the Test match the whole team has contributed to such an emphatic win. We’ll celebrate tonight but look on to the New Zealand series which starts in less than a week."

Losing captain Karen Rolton said, "We really gave it our all throughout the match. We had a disappointing first day but there were several stages with both the bat and ball where we were able to get ourselves back into the match.

"There was a lot of positive cricket played," she added.

© Cricket World 2008

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