Friday 15 February 2008 

England Women Make Flying Start To Ashes Defence

Australia Women 154 (A Blackwell 45, Guha 5-40) v
England Women 22-0 in Bowral

England Women made an excellent start to their defence of the Ashes in Bowral, bowling Australia out for 154 after winning the toss and choosing to bowl on day one before closing on 22 without loss.

England named their team shortly before the start of play, with Jenny Gunn ruled out with a shoulder injury although opening bowlers Isa Guha and Nicola Shaw soon removed openers Alex Blackwell (one) and Melissa Bulow (11) before picking up the big wicket of vice-captain Lisa Sthalekar (two).

As holders of the Ashes, England need only to draw the match to retain the trophy and at 33 for three, Australia were left with plenty of work to do.

Captain Karen Rolton and Shelley Nitschke took their side to 46 without further loss at lunch with England having dominated the session.

England remained on top after lunch with Rolton dismissed for 34, and Nitschke for four, both by the impressive Guha before debutante Ellyse Perry was run out for 21.

At tea, Australia made it to 110 for six but two more wickets after the break, including Alex Blackwell, run out for 44, and Leonie Coleman caught by Lydia Greenway with Laura Marsh the bowlers ensured that England remained well on top.

They swiftly wrapped up the Australian innings as Guha secured a five-wicket haul by clean bowling Kirsten Pike (ten) shortly after Sarah Andrews was out for six.

England's fine day was rounded off by openers Caroline Atkins (14 not out) and Beth Morgan (seven not out) who successfully survived 16 overs to give their side every chance of pushing on on day two.

After the game Guha commented: "It was a great toss to win with the overcast conditions assisting our bowling. This allowed us to penetrate the top order and put pressure on Australia.

"Nicky supported me really well, which enabled a bowling partnership to form. We were also backed up really well in the field taking all catches that came to us as well as crucial run-outs.

"I’m obviously delighted to take five wickets. It’s nice to be back in the side and taking wickets for my country. We’re well aware that it’s only day one and we’ve got another nine sessions to perform well in. Roll on tomorrow."

Captain Charlotte Edwards added: "I’m delighted that on the first day of an Ashes Test match we’ve managed to bowl Australia out for 154.

"It was gutting to lose Jenny (Gunn), but the way all the bowlers responded, especially Isa, was a great effort.

"We know Australia are going to come back at us hard over the next few days, but we’re up for the challenge."

Australian Kate Blackwell commented, "There weren’t any demons in the pitch early. We just didn’t bat well.

"But we’re still in it. A few quick wickets tomorrow will really put us in the game. We are still very excited about this match and we’ll come out all guns blazing tomorrow."

Australia Women: Alex Blackwell, Melissa Bulow, Karen Rolton (c), Lisa Sthalekar, Shelley Nitschke, Sarah Andrews, Kate Blackwell, Leonie Coleman (wk), Ellyse Perry, Kirsten Pike, Emma Sampson

England Women: Caroline Atkins, Rosalie Birch, Holly Colvin, Charlotte Edwards (c), Lydia Greenway, Isa Guha, Laura Marsh, Beth Morgan, Nicola Shaw, Claire Taylor, Sarah Taylor (wk)

© Cricket World 2008

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