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Southern Stars Bounce Back To Level Series At MCG

Australia Women 240-4 (A Blackwell 102, K Blackwell 57, Gunn 2-39) England Women 156 (Perry 3-24, Sthalekar 2-40) in Melbourne Australia won by 84 runs; series level at 1-1 A maiden international century from Alex Blackwell helped Australia's Women, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, beat England Women by 84 runs in the second one-day international between the two sides at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. After England convincingly won the first match, by 56 runs, the onus was on Australia to hit back to keep themselves in with a fighting chance of winning the series and they produced an accomplished performance. Blackwell held firm throughout Australia's innings, hitting six fours, as she lost Shelley Nitschke (12) and Karen Rolton (12) early on before Lisa Sthalekar hit 45 and Kate Blackwell 57. Shtalekar and Blackwell put on 93 with the Blackwell twins scoring 111 with Alex narrowly missing out on carrying her bat, falling to the penultimate delivery of the innings for 102 having faced 172 balls. Jenny Gunn was again England's most impressive bowler, taking two for 39 with Nicola Shaw picking up one for 39 and Holly Colvin one for 48 as Australia racked up an imposing 240 for four. Ellyse Perry, fast becoming England's Nemesis, then unleashed a devastating opening spell that saw Sarah Taylor (nine), Claire Taylor and Charlotte Edwards (both nought) back in the pavilion with England in trouble on 24 for three. Beth Morgan and Lydia Greenway had a slow rebuilding job on their hands, both making scores of 27 before Morgan was trapped in front by Kirsten Pike and Greenway was run out by Perry. When Gunn was dismissed lbw to Emma Sampson for 12, England were 85 for six and with almost half their overs used up. Caroline Atkins (23) and Rosalie Birch (27) looked to hit out to try and get England back in the game, but having lost too many top order wickets, too early, it was a bridge too far and they were bowled out for 156 in 45.1 overs. Perry's impressive spells of bowling reaped her the rewards of three for 24 while Shtalekar picked up two late wickets for 40 runs as each of Australia's five bowlers took a wicket each. After the match, Alex Blackwell said, "We were very disappointed with the performance we gave yesterday and we wanted to come back and for each person to fulfil their role. I think we did that today and we’re one-all now in the series which is really important. "I wanted to get off to a good start with Shelley but after we lost two wickets my role changed to then anchor the innings and be there until the end to give us an opportunity to set a good total. "We put the disappointment of yesterday behind us and hopefully we can continue on for the rest of the series now." England captain Edwards said: "It was a complete reverse of yesterday. Australia came out exactly as I thought they would. We weren’t at our best today, which is where you need to be to beat Australia. "Before the series I’d have taken 1-1 after the first two games and it’s all to play for in Sydney now." Head Coach Mark Dobson added: "It was a disappointing performance with only Nicky Shaw really bowling well. It was important for us to get off to a good start with the run chase, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. "We’re optimistic we can bounce back in the third ODI in Sydney on Thursday." The next match in the series is in Sydney on February 7th. © Cricket World 2008