England v Australia  1st Royal London Women's ODI
England v Australia 1st Royal London Women's ODI

First blood to Australia as Ashes conflict resumes

Australia made hard work of a 178-run chase, coming home with just two wickets to spare in the women's Ashes opening one-day international, after spinner Sophie Ecclestone brought England within sight of victory.

A Katherine Brunt delivery going for five wides ultimately got Australia over the line, with Delissa Kimmince (14 not out), who survived a simple caught-and- bowled chance to Anya Shrubsole, and Georgia Wareham (0 no) there at the end.

 

Ellyse Perry celebrates bowling Tammy Beaumont during the first ODI in Leicester.
Ellyse Perry celebrates bowling Tammy Beaumont during the first ODI in Leicester.

 

If they had stumbled before the line, Australian coach Matthew Mott would have pointed to loose shots that almost cost them a straightforward looking target.

Australia seemed to be cruising to victory at 4-104 when Alyssa Healy (66) holed out to Fran Wilson on the cover boundary.

Again they appeared secure at 6-150 when Beth Mooney (25) fell to the same bowler attempting a lap shot.

 

Megan Schutt removed the dangerous Sarah Taylor as Australia’s bowlers hit their straps.
Megan Schutt removed the dangerous Sarah Taylor as Australia’s bowlers hit their straps.

 

Then, with just 11 runs required for victory, Jess Jonassen (19) carelessly picked out Shrubsole at mid-on off Ecclestone (3-34).

Earlier, Australia were set up for victory by a Ellyse Perry (3-43) barrage, reducing the hosts to 4-19.

Perry dismissed Amy Jones for a duck and was then on a hat-trick after Tammy Beaumont (16) chopped on at the end of her second over and skipper Heather Knight (0) was trapped leg before with the first ball of her third.

Perry claimed the 'Player of the Match' award at Fischer County Ground.
Perry claimed the 'Player of the Match' award at Fischer County Ground.

 

In between these dismissals, which all fell with the score on 19, Megan Schutt (2-19) bowled Sarah Taylor (1) with a superb inswinger that took out leg stump. Natalie Sciver's 64 and Ecclestone's run-a-ball 27 gave England something to defend and a consistent team bowling effort ensured they stayed in the game.

Although not as dramatic as England's top-order failing, Shrubsole (1-33) dismissed Bolton (2), Katherine Brunt (1-37) trapped Meg Lanning (16) in front and a smart stumping from Sarah Taylor sent Perry (3) back to the pavilion, denying Healy a meaningful partnership.

Ultimately, the total was just too small to defend and Australia hold the initiative ahead of the final two ODIs at Leicester (Thursday) and Canterbury (Sunday).