Feb 022014
Farrell leads Australia to 2-1 win

Australia Women 102 for 3 (Villani 36*) beat England Women 101 for 8 (Farrell 4-15) by seven wickets

Rene Farrell celebrates one of her four wickets, Australia v England, 3rd women's T20, Stadium Australia, Sydney, February 2, 2014

Rene Farrell hit England hard in his first spell © Getty Images

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Australia once again stamped their authority over England with a seven-wicket victory in the final match of the women’s Ashes series, as England finished with 2 successive defeats and a scoreline of 10-8. The innings of Elyse Villani, who hit an unbeaten 36 off 47 balls, took Australia over the line with nine balls to spare.

Australia, chasing 102, had started sedately enough, reaching 23 for 0 after five overs largely thanks to several wide deliveries from opening bowler Kathryn Cross. By contrast, Danielle Hazell was once again the best of England’s bowlers, with only nine runs conceded off her four overs. But as long as Australia had wickets in hand, a asking rate of 5.10 an over was never going to be a problem, and the England bowlers struggled to make breakthroughs.

Arran Brindle eventually removed Alyssa Healy in the ninth over, having her caught at midwicket by Lydia Greenway. But Australia’s opening partnership was already worth 48 runs, and that wicket brought the in-form Meg Lanning to the crease. Lanning proceeded to punish the England bowlers as she hit a quick-fire 23 off 20 balls, including three boundaries, until she was out in Georgia Elwiss’ first over, the 14th, sweeping the ball straight to Natalie Sciver at deep square leg.

Elwiss, whose three overs went for 12 runs, helped to stem the flow of runs in the middle overs. But it was very evident that, once again, an England team beset by injuries were missing several of their frontline bowlers. Desperately seeking to defend a low total, Edwards even brought herself into the attack in the 17th over, but it was too late to make much difference. By the time Nicole Bolton was out on 6, run out coming back for a second as Cross, fielding in the deep, threw the ball to Sarah Taylor behind the stumps, Australia required just 14 runs for victory. Fittingly, it was Villani who hit the winning single, driving to mid-off through the hands of Edwards.

Australia’s bowlers had once again restricted England to a low score after Lanning won the toss and put England in. Holly Ferling bowled a tight line, letting just nine runs go off her first three overs.

Rene Farrell, though, was the star with the ball, as she seized the initiative from England with her second ball of the day, having Lauren Winfield caught by Jess Jonassen at point. Then in her second over, she removed two England batsmen with successive deliveries. Edwards was first, driving towards mid-on, where Nicole Bolton leapt up to take a catch above her head, juggled it, then dived to her left to cling on. Greenway went the next ball, edging an away-swinger to Healy behind the stumps.

Farrell’s hat-trick ball was safely defended by Sciver, but she had ensured that England, left on 15 for 3 after four overs, would have to stage a difficult recovery.

Taylor and Sciver attempted to do so, staying together for 6.2 overs, as Taylor drove several balls for four, acquiring crucial runs for England. But in the tenth over, she was caught on 22 by Bolton at mid-on, attempting another drive over the top, off the bowling of Megan Schutt. None of England’s other batsmen managed to cut loose, and Brindle went three overs later for 6, as Lanning took a great catch diving to her left at mid-on.

Five overs later, having attempted several risky singles, England suffered two run-outs in the space of five balls: first Sciver, backing up after a speedy return from Alex Blackwell at cover, and then Wyatt, as Lanning scored a direct hit from midwicket.

That left England 79 for 7 with five overs remaining, and they managed just 21 runs in that time. Farrell, whose three overs went for just 15 runs, ended a superb day with a straight, fast ball which bowled Hazell for 9 off the last ball of England’s innings. Their total of 101 proved distinctly under-par.

England were still, ultimately, Ashes champions and they were presented with medals after the match. But with today’s win, Australia can lay claim to a victory in the T20 leg of the series, finishing 2-1 up. That scoreline could be key in terms of momentum as both teams go into the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh next month.

Aug 292013
Edwards hails her finest moment
Charlotte Edwards led the charge as England celebrated victory, England v Australia, 2nd women's T20, Ageas Bowl, August 29, 2013

Charlotte Edwards led England’s celebrations © Getty Images

Charlotte Edwards has achieved a huge amount in her career but she put regaining the Ashes as among her finest moments after England secured the multi-format series with a match to spare.

It has not been an easy few years for Edwards with England’s standing having slip from their 2009 high point of being Ashes holders, World Twenty20 champions and World Cup winners. They relinquished the Ashes in 2011 and have since suffered narrow losses in the World Cup and World T20 at the hands of Australia.

Now they have an unassailable 10-4 lead in this summer’s series having drawn the Test and bounced back emphatically from defeat in the first ODI at Lord’s when there could have been a danger of the recent reversals overwhelming them.

“It’s possibly one of my proudest moments in cricket,” Edwards said. “After the winter we had, a disappointing winter, to come back in the way we have done and beat the world champions on home soil as convincing as we have done is really pleasing for us. I’m incredibly proud of all of the team and the way that they have bounced back.”

Edwards insisted there had been no magical formula for this Ashes success which has come under new head coach Paul Shaw after Mark Lane stood down earlier his year

“The first thing is not to panic and that’s one thing our new coaching staff have instilled in us,” Edwards said. “We went away and worked on a few things and changed the order up a bit. The players bought into that and trained hard. We always believed we could beat this Australian team and that has been the biggest thing for us. We had complete belief in one another and everyone has contributed.”

Their five-wicket victory at the Ageas Bowl was orchestrated by Lydia Greenway’s unbeaten 80 – the highest score for England in Twenty20 – an innings which Edwards lauded as the greatest she had seen.

“This innings today was outstanding from her,” she said. “I’ve seen many innings, Sarah Taylor included, and this was the best innings I’ve seen certainly in T20 cricket under the circumstances.”

Greenway acknowledged she had not played better: “As Charlotte said, under the circumstances – the Ashes were there to be won and we didn’t want to leave it until Durham. It’s great to have contributed.”

And, like the men, there were plans in place for a hefty celebrations although perhaps not in quite the way Alastair Cook’s team finished at The Oval on Sunday evening. But the party, would have to start on the team bus as they headed to Gatwick for their flight up to the North East ahead of the final Twenty20 at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.

“I’ve just seen a load of Budweiser. It could be a good trip to Gatwick. It’s important we celebrate. We’ve got a big game at Durham but you don’t win the Ashes every day. Watch out the M3.”

Such revelry was far from Jodie Fields’s mind as another Australian captain was left to reflect on leaving an Ashes series empty-handed. “I’m pretty gutted to sit here and have lost the Ashes particularly after the men lost,” Fields said. “We saw it as our responsibility to work hard to bring it home and now both Australian teams will go home without the Ashes.”

Aug 282013
Taylor puts England on brink of Ashes victory

England Women 146 for 4 (Taylor 77) beat Australia Women 131 for 5 (Cameron 35, Gunn 2-33) by 15 runs

Sarah Taylor made 77 in 58 balls, England Women v Australia Women, 1st T20, Chelmsford, August, 27, 2013

Sarah Taylor made 77 in 58 balls © Getty Images

Sarah Taylor put England on the brink of regaining the Women’s Ashes with her best score in a T20 international.

Her 77 led England to a comfortable victory in the opening T20 to extend England’s overall lead in the series to 8-4 with two rubbers to play. England can now do no worse than draw the series and Australia must win both of the remaining T20s to retain the Women’s Ashes.

Taylor’s 58-ball knock was made with clever placement and working the gaps well with the boundary difficult to find on a slow outfield. She struck six fours and was the mainstay of England’s solid but not overwhelming total.

England began with a bang as six boundaries came from the opening 14 deliveries, despite losing Charlotte Edwards in the second over. Three overs later Heather Knight also fell to hasten two cheap overs to end the Powerplay during which England made 42. Then Taylor and Danielle Wyatt got together and ticked the innings along at just over seven-an-over in a stand of 88.

As it transpired, their 146 was comfortable enough as Australia never got the chase going. They lost both openers in the second over and made only 26 in the Powerplay. Jenny Gunn then removed Jodie Fields to stymie the recovery as the asking rate reached ten-per-over.

Gunn struck again in the 13th over, having Jess Cameron caught and bowled when well set but Ellyse Perry and Rachael Haynes took up the chase and struck five boundaries in 13 balls to make England sweat but the pair were left with too much to do.

Aug 132013
Record stand revives England

Australia 331 for 6 dec and 64 for 1 lead England 314 (Knight 157, Marsh 55, Osborne 4-67) by 81 runs

Heather Knight and Laura Marsh put up a century stand for the seventh wicket, England Women v Australia Women, Only Test, 3rd day, Wormsley, August 13, 2013

Heather Knight and Laura Marsh put on a record-breaking partnership for the seventh wicket © Getty Images

Heather Knight made her first Test century as England continued their dogged rearguard action well into the third day at Wormsley. Knight’s 157 from 338 balls was the seventh-highest Test score by an England woman and she was joined by the equally obdurate Laura Marsh in a stand of 156 – England’s best for the seventh wicket and one run shy of the Test record – that went a long way to staving off the threat of defeat to Australia.

With six points on offer in these multi-format Ashes, the incentive to win was clear and evinced by Jodie Fields‘ decision to declare with her team six down on the second day. But with the prospect of defeat coming at such a price – a draw will give each side two points – England have knuckled down in an attempt to make sure they don’t lose. Australia had extended their lead to 81 by reaching 64 for 1 by the close, making a draw the most likely result.

Resuming on a perilous 172 for 6, still 149 runs behind, Knight and Marsh forged on in the same manner in which they had gone about their business on the on previous evening. The pair soaked up 73 overs of pressure before Knight was run out after being sent back looking for a single.

Knight was dropped on 105, wicketkeeper Fields missing a chance down the leg side, but by then she had long-since surpassed her previous best innings, in her only other Test, of 19. She hit 20 fours in all and was particularly strong off her pads in making the third-highest individual total for England against Australia.

Marsh, 13 from 114 balls at the start of the day, had progressed to 35 when she lost her partner and Katherine Brunt, who hit her first ball for four, went soon after. But Danielle Hazell stuck around for another 20 overs as Marsh went to her first Test half-century, eventually facing 304 balls for her 55. By the time Australia claimed the final wicket, Erin Osborne finishing with 4 for 67, the deficit was just 17.

“I’m really pleased, I think when I went in we were pretty up against it,” Marsh said. “I was just really pleased to be able to hang in there with Heather and support her.

“It was the job the team needed and I tried to stick in there and be disciplined with my decision-making. It was really helpful to have Heather at the other end for the vast amount of the time I was there because she just played brilliantly and we kept each other going.

“I tried to be positive in defence and approach it that way and pick up runs when they became available.”

With a slim lead and a potentially tricky couple of hours to negotiate amid rain showers, Australia’s openers began at a similarly watchful pace, reaching 40 before Jenny Gunn removed Rachael Haynes. First-innings centurion Sarah Elliott accompanied Meg Lanning safely to the close but it will take something special from the usually attacking Fields to force a result.

Aug 122013
Knight battles to keep England afloat

England 159 for 6 (Knight 85*, Osborne 3-31) trail Australia 331 for 6 dec (Elliott 104, Blackwell 54, Cameron 50) by 159 runs

Heather Knight guides the ball to the off side, England Women v Australia Women, Only Test, 2nd day, Wormsley, August 12, 2013

Heather Knight held England’s floundering innings together © Getty Images

Australia took firm control of the Ashes Test, reducing England to 159 for 6 on the second day, but Heather Knight kept the home side fighting and on track to avoid the follow-on after the middle order had been removed by Erin Osborne and the 17-year-old Holly Ferling.

Australia had made an bold declaration shortly before lunch on 331 for 6 – there is an incentive to win the Test with six points on offer in the new-style multi-format Ashes concept – after Sarah Elliott had reached a maiden Test hundred having been unbeaten on 95 overnight while Alex Blackwell contributed 54.

Ellyse Perry clubbed 31 off 24 balls and then struck an early blow when Arran Brindle was lbw in the ninth over. However, England formed themselves a decent platform as Knight and Sarah Taylor came together, but Taylor’s dismissal for a sparkly 33 prompted a collapse.

Taylor became a maiden Test wicket for Ferling, who then claimed the key scalp of Charlotte Edwards lbw although the England captain was far from impressed with the decision. Substantial damage was then caused by offspinner Osborne as she claimed three wickets in the space of four overs to leave England tottering on 113 for 6.

England, though, resisted stoutly through the remainder of the day as Knight and Laura Marsh compiled a 36-over partnership worth 59. Knight hit 10 boundaries in her 225-ball innings while Marsh blocked through 114 deliveries to remain unbeaten on 13.

“It’s a pretty good pitch out there and with Laura we managed to put together a partnership,” Knight said. “Our team bats really low down the order so hopefully we can go out tomorrow, score a few more runs and then come hard at them with the ball.

“I decided to concentrate on what I was doing at my end and not worrying too much about the wickets we were losing other end. I feel good about my cricket at the moment. Whatever I’m doing is working so it’s just about carrying that on. I think it’s going really well.

“However we still need 10 more to avoid follow-on so that is our first objection and then there’s the new ball in six overs so hopefully that will bring a few more runs.”

Aug 062013
Australia Women Warm Up With Win
Tuesday 6 August 2013 

by John Pennington

Jess Jonassen (left) picked up four wickets to mark a successful return from injury as Australia beat England ‘A’

REUTERS / Action Images

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Australia Women 340 (Lanning 104) beat
England Women A 224 by 116 runs
Tour game, Radlett CC

Australia Women completed an impressive 116-run win over England ‘A’ inside two days to complete a satisfactory warm-up to the Ashes Test which begins later this week.

The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars batted on in the morning before they were bowled out for 340 and England’s A side was then dismissed for 224 in the two-day one-innings match.

Meg Lanning had made 104 on the opening day and there were runs on the second morning at Radlett CC for Erin Osborne (33) and Alyssa Healy (20) before Ellyse Villani struck a quickfire 45.

Rebecca Grundy, with three for 29, and Kate Cross, with four for 48, were the pick of the bowlers.

Ellyse Perry then showed why Australia were so keen to ensure she was fit for the series with two early wickets on her way to figures of three for 49. She removed internationals Amy Jones (10) and Danielle Wyatt (0) before also dismissing Fran Wilson for 22.

However, it was spinner Jess Jonassen – also making her return following injury – who took four for 18 to turn things Australia’s way.

Holly Ferling also took two for 27 and although Sarah Coyte, Osborne, Sarah Elliott and Gemma Triscari – a late addition to Australia’s squad – didn’t take a wicket, they all bowled economically and eventually the pressure told on the home side who were bowled out late in the day.

The Wormsley Test begins on 11th August which is followed by three One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals with each format of the game carrying six points and the side with most points at the end of the summer winning the Ashes.

As Australia hold the Ashes, they will retain them if the scores are level.

© Cricket World 2013

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May 132013
Women's Ashes gets revamp
Lisa Sthalekar scored 41 and took 1 for 19 in her ten overs, Australia v England, Women's World Cup 2013, Super Six, Mumbai, February 8, 2013

England and Australia Women will compete for the Ashes over seven matches from this summer © Getty Images

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The Women’s Ashes has been revamped and from this summer will be contested over seven matches across all formats of the game.

The new series, devised between the ECB and Cricket Australia, is designed to protect the integrity of Women’s Test match cricket by piggybacking on the success of Women’s limited-overs cricket.

England v Australia is the sole remaining Test cricket in the women’s game but for the past three series has consisted of just one match. To help maintain the fixture, three one-day internationals and three Twenty20s have been added to create a new multi-format Ashes series.

Points will be allocated to each match, six for the Test and two each for the one-day matches, with the side winning the most points taking home the wooden ball – the women’s version of the urn which contains a bat that was burnt in the Harris Garden at Lord’s in 1998.

“We’ve talked with Cricket Australia for a while about how to preserve Women’s Test cricket when neither team plays any multi-day domestic cricket,” Clare Connor, head of England Women’s cricket, said. “This format is hopefully a way of combining the tradition and prestige of the Ashes and Test cricket while also recognising the reality that it’s the limited overs formats which have particularly grown and raised the profile of the women’s game.

“We think we’ve got something that’s going to give real context to the women’s summer and sustain the enthusiasm and interest in the series. We believe that this new multi-format series will gain significantly more profile and context than can be generated by playing a one-off Test match every couple of years. It is an innovative way forward.”

The Women’s Ashes will now be played throughout August, beginning with the Test match at Wormsley on August 11 and concluding with the third ODI at Durham on August 31. Quite a departure from the five-match Test series that comprises the men’s Ashes.

“We thought long and hard about whether to keep the word ‘Ashes’ in there because it’s a rebranding for what the Ashes means,” Connor said. “We spoke to the MCC and Cricket Australia and decided that we did still want to keep ‘Ashes’ as the name for the series while embracing all the formats. Hopefully once the message is clear and the points system is clear, people will see that it gives real credibility and context.”

Belinda Clark, Cricket Australia senior manager – Centre of Excellence, added: “Cricket contests between Australia and England have a special place in the hearts and minds of players and the public. The new Women’s Ashes format acknowledges the past, embraces the present and takes a bold step towards the future.”

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