Gunn blasts England to 56-run win
England 6 for 233 (Greenway 48*, Gunn 48, Nitschke 2-33) beat Australia 177 (Perry 40, Marsh 3-41) by 56 runs
Jenny Gunn starred with bat and ball as England took a 1-0 lead in the five-match ODI series with a comprehensive 56-run win at the MCG. Gunn made 48 in England's healthy total of 6 for 233 and then got rid of both Australia's openers to set the tone for what became a lethargic chase.
Australia were listless compared to their sharp efforts in the field and at the crease in their Twenty20 victory on Friday. Dropped catches helped England get away to a challenging score and there was little urgency in Australia's reply, with the captain Karen Rolton taking 62 balls to post her 30.
While she remained the hosts had a sliver of hope. However, the required run-rate ballooned into double-figures and when Rolton departed in the 37th over, caught behind trying to cut Laura Marsh, who grabbed three wickets, Australia were 6 for 110.
The only matter of interest then was whether Australia's 17-year-old allrounder Ellyse Perry could register her first ODI half-century; she reached 40 before she was run out backing up too far. The result had been set up by the early strikes of Gunn, who finished with 2 for 35 from ten overs.
Shelley Nitschke had shown promise with a pair of boundaries off Gunn - one superbly timed late cut and an impressive cover-drive - before she scooped Gunn to Nicky Shaw at mid off. England's fielding remained spot on, unlike that of Australia, who dropped four gettable catches.
Alex Blackwell, Kate Blackwell, Nitschke and Leonie Coleman all spilled what they should have taken. Lydia Greenway, who finished unbeaten on 48, had a life on 33 when she skied to point, where Alex Blackwell badly misjudged the drop of the ball.
Greenway and Gunn combined for an 80-run stand after England were in danger of falling away at 4 for 116. Greenway scored quickly but managed only one boundary while Gunn had more luck piercing the field for four fours. The partnership ended when Gunn was backing up too far and a Greenway drive clipped the fingers of the bowler Perry and ricocheted onto the stumps.
It was a rare piece of good fortune in the field for Australia after Beth Morgan was dropped by Kate Blackwell at cover and a diving Coleman behind the stumps. Sarah Taylor, the wicketkeeper restored to the opening position after missing the Twenty20 game through injury, played well for 44 until she gave Nitschke one of her two wickets, cutting a short ball to Perry at point.
Claire Taylor contributed 30 before she was caught behind trying an expansive cover-drive off Nitschke. The two teams return to the same ground for the second ODI on Monday and Australia, who were so impressive in the Twenty20, must find the power switch to spark a more energetic effort following a 50-over fadeout.
Brydon Coverdale is a staff writer at Cricinfo