Australia extended their lead in the Ashes with a dominant performance in the second ODI at Coff’s Harbour to go up 2-0. They also secured 2 points for the win which means they are now 4-0 against England in the points tally.
England were set a daunting 297 to win on the back of a counter-attacking innings by the Aussie captain Rachael Haynes. A brief spell of rain meant that England’s target was revised to 285 from 46 overs.
It was all doom and gloom for England. They floundered from the get-go. Lauren Winfield departed in the very first over having been adjudged plumb LBW to a big inswinging delivery from the pacer Megan Schutt. Tammy Beaumont fell in a similar fashion to Schutt in the fifth over. The ominous thunder and lightning in the background served as appropriate mood setters.
More drama followed when Ellyse Perry was taken out of the attack by umpire Claire Polosak for bowling consecutive beamers. Perry may have felt she was hard done by since the ball had become slippery due to the rain. Sarah Taylor and Heather Knight stabilized the English innings while surviving many close calls. But Tahlia McGrath, with her maiden wicket, broke the partnership by producing a slight edge from Taylor’s bat which was snapped up by Alyssa Healy.
Nat Sciver and Heather Knight followed soon after and England were on the ropes at 91-5. They had a second revival thanks to the partnership between Fran Wilson and Katherine Brunt. Brunt scored her maiden ODI fifty and was the top scorer of the English innings. However England were never really in the chase and soon collapsed to 209 in 42.2 to hand Australia their second win.
The foundation of Australia’s victory was laid in the first innings. With an eye on possible rain later, England put Australia in to bat after winning the toss. Australia got off to a strong start thanks to a solid partnership of 98 runs between Alyssa Healy and Nicole Bolton. While Bolton was scratchy at the beginning of her innings, Healy faced no such problem. She played attacking shots in a carefree manner to score 56 runs at more than run a ball, justifying Australia’s strategy to promote her to the top of the order.
She was eventually bowled by a quicker delivery from Sophie Ecclestone while attempting to cut. Ecclestone, who made her debut Ashes appearance, impressed with her control. However there was no respite for England. Ellyse Perry continued her golden form by racking up 67 runs from 75 deliveries. Perry now has a staggering 23 fifties from her last 34 ODI innings. She was given a life on 41 when she drove straight into the hands of Katherine Brunt who was too slow to respond.
Bolton also looked to be playing more freely before she walked across her off stump to hit Alex Hartley over the leg side and lost her leg stump in the process. Though her 66 off 100 balls innings was not one of her better ones, it helped Australia to lay a firm platform from which they could launch an attack in the remaining overs.
The Australian skipper Rachael Haynes had similar thoughts. She hadn’t exactly set the stage alight in the first ODI. But today she seemed to be driving in a different gear. Right from the word go, she found the gaps. She displayed remarkable versatility, employing a range of shots from the scoop to the traditional drives to race to 50 off only 35 balls.
Perry complemented her well and the two looked well set. However, a clever piece of bowling by Jenny Gunn driven to its proper exclusion by the terrific Sarah Taylor saw the end of Perry. With Perry rushing advancing down the pitch, Gunn bowled very wide out of her reach. Taylor swiftly collected the ball and whipped the bails off before Perry had any time to make her ground. Gunn eventually finished with 4 for 55, a good spell considering the large total.
Haynes added the finishing touches to the Australian innings, remaining not out on 89 off 56 balls with 3 sixes and 9 fours. Except for a dropped chance towards the end of the innings, it was a remarkable knock which eventually proved to be a match-winning one.