Edgy England's woes worsen
Australia Under-21 8 for 241 (Healy 45, Cameron 53*) beat England 162 by 52 runs
England's tour of Australia lurched into further trouble in the second warm-up match, this time with a defeat at the hands of Australia Under-21s. Lowly state team Victoria had inflicted a humiliating nine-wicket win in the opener on Friday, while in this match the juniors won by 52 runs after dismissing England for 162 in reply to their 214.
Alyssa Healy (Ian's niece) made 45 and there was a fifty for Jessica Cameron, in her second season for the Shooting Stars, to boost them to 8 for 214 after Rachael Haynes (who had scored a fifty against them in Victoria disguise last week) chose to bat first.
England vice-captain Nicki Shaw was on the receiving end in particular, recording 1 for 52 from nine overs. Stephanie Davies was the best bowler in only her second match, with 2 for 28 from her ten overs, which is one positive England can take away, along with Laura Marsh's 2 for 36.
Nevertheless, the home side's score was below par for this level but proved more than enough as the bowlers, led by Rene Chappell, took regular wickets to shoot out England for 162. The opener Beth Morgan failed again with the bat, making 9. None of England's Australia-ready players particularly shone, in fact: Lydia Greenway notching a nought, a wicketless Jenny Gunn making 13, Isa Guha struck twice but at a cost of 40 from six overs. On the positive side, England are gaining in some confidence and getting match practice as a unit.
England's captain Charlotte Edwards, while pleased with the bowling and fielding, couldn't hide her regret. "We're obviously bitterly disappointed. Our batting was well below-par with some soft dismissals. We were always up with the run-rate, but we didn't establish any decent partnerships until it was too late."
Assistant coach Mark Lane, who arrived late Friday night in lieu of Vince Wells who couldn't make it for personal reasons, added: "We've been knocked down, but it's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how many times you get back up. It's not all doom and gloom - we need to stick together and stand up and be counted. We'll practise really hard tomorrow and come out fighting on Wednesday."
If this is a glimpse into the future, Australia should be assured - like their men they are an enviable factory, thanks in part to their smooth system. As for England's present, there may be one or two worries. They still have one more warm-up on Wednesday but with the first international looming on Friday they must be privately a little concerned.
The side are a positive bunch, however, and will aim to improve again in their next match against the Shooting Stars.