Australia women coast to easy victory at Perth
Australia 8 for 207 (Clark 86, Smith 55) beat New Zealand 120 by 87 runs, and lead the three-match series 1-0
Belinda Clark struck a magnificent 86 to lift Australia to an easy victory against New Zealand in the first one-dayer of the three-match Rose Bowl series at Perth. Australia rattled up 207 from their 50 overs, before shooting out the visitors for 120, the perfect start to their final preparations for the impending World Cup in South Africa. The defending champions New Zealand, however, must improve their batting in the next match if they are to stay in the hunt in this three-match series.
The captain Clark played a typically charismatic innings on her way to 86 from 114 balls. She received strong support from Mel Jones: they put on 97 for the third wicket before the medium-pacer Nicola Browne trapped Clark lbw to break the stand (3 for 176). Jones crunched 55 from 78 before becoming one of four run-out victims as Australia wobbled late on. But the damage had already been done.
New Zealand made a nightmare start to their reply, as they slumped to 2 for 3. It was a position they could not recover from, and wickets tumbled steadily from there on in, as Australia's bowlers turned the screw. It was a polished performance from the Australian attack: no bowler went for more than three runs an over, with Clea Smith the pick, returning figures of 2 for 29 from her ten overs. New Zealand pulled up 87 runs short, more than aware that they have a rebuilding task on their hands when the series resumes at the WACA on Saturday (March 12).