Australia secure 4-0 lead with 85-run success
Australia 9 for 252 (Poulton 68, Watson 2-32) beat New Zealand 167 (Fahey 56, Nitschke 3-32) by 85 runs
Australia continued their unbeaten streak in the Rose Bowl Series with an 85-run victory that took them to a 4-0 advantage. The home side's 9 for 252 proved too great a target for New Zealand, who were bowled out for 167 in 44.3 overs.
An already tough chase was made harder for the visitors when Nicola Browne was taken to hospital after retiring hurt on 6. Taking a quick single, Browne was hit in the back by a Kate Blackwell throw, overbalanced and in the fall knocked a tooth through her lip. It was a sorry end to a disappointing day for Browne, who opened the bowling for New Zealand and delivered five wides and a no-ball in her third and final over.
Australia fell one run short of their highest score against New Zealand, with the opener Leah Poulton and the stand-in captain Lisa Sthalekar leading the way. Poulton, in her fourth one-day international, followed up her match-winning century on Tuesday with an entertaining 68 from 76 balls, which included ten boundaries, before she was run out attempting a quick single. Poulton, a former Australia Under-19 captain, attacked while the field was up during the first 20 overs and was particularly strong when playing down the ground.
Sthalekar continued her consistent series with 43 from 42 balls, but she was caught after top-edging an attempted slog over midwicket from the bowling of Anna Dodd. Jodie Purves kept the scoreboard ticking with a run-a-ball 33, while Nitschke (20 not out) and Blackwell (15) also contributed to the strong total.
When the medium-pacer Helen Watson replaced the wayward Browne the scoring temporarily dried up. Watson tied the batsmen down, bowling 26 dot balls before Australia scored from her, and claimed the wicket of Melissa Bulow in her third over.
Bulow (14) tried to break the shackles by lofting Watson over the infield but was caught by Ros Kember running back at mid-off. When Michelle Goszko (29) joined Poulton in the 11th over the runs began to flow again as New Zealand pushed through their two powerplays.
Poulton took 16 off one Aimee Mason over and during the middle of the innings the New Zealand bowlers struggled for penetration. Sarah Tsukigawa (2 for 39) and Watson, who finished with 2 for 32 from ten overs, minimised the damage, although the side was not helped by 16 wides. Watson was a shining light with the ball and she also hit the stumps from midwicket to run out Kirsten Pike for 1.
Tight bowling, fielding and early wickets to Shelley Nitschke, the left-arm orthodox spinner, helped set up Australia's win. The fast bowler Clea Smith, who replaced Cathryn Fitzpatrick for this match, removed the dangerous Rebecca Rolls for 11 and New Zealand were struggling at 1 for 23 in the tenth over.
Haidee Tiffen and Kember had just begun to find the boundary with some ease when Nitschke (3 for 32) claimed both batsmen. Kember was caught at mid-on attempting to loft the ball over the infield for 18 and Tiffen was bowled for a 31-ball 30.
Although Maria Fahey (56) made her second consecutive half-century to add some respectability to the score, she lost partners at regular intervals and the required run rate spiralled. Smith and Sarah Andrews returned to take the final wickets and finished with two apiece.
Australia will be without the captain Karen Rolton for the final game in the series on Saturday. Rolton, who missed the past two matches, will be out for up to eight weeks and is expected to have surgery on her injured knee early next month.