July 3, 2001

Australian Women complete one-day whitewash over England

England's batters pulled out all the stops at Lord's but still could not match the might of the Australians who recorded the third consecutive victory of the CricInfo one-day series by a margin of 66 runs.

Claire Taylor, the 25-year-old Berkshire batsman who was England's leading run scorer in the last World Cup, scored England's first half-century of the series but she ran out of overs as Australia's bowlers stepped up the pressure to restrict the home side to 140 for eight in reply to Australia's 206 for seven.

A change in the England order, which saw captain Clare Connor and wicketkeeper Jane Cassar drop down the order in an attempt to provide tail-end ballast, failed to work and Taylor was left unbeaten on 50, having faced 77 balls and striking just two boundaries.

Of the other batters, five failed to reach double figures giving John Harmer, the new England coach who was watching his charges for the first time before taking over in October, a snap-shot insight into England's main failing.

Despite that, the decision to replace Hannah Lloyd with Caroline Atkins at the top of the order resulted in England's highest opening partnership of the series as Atkins, who is coached alongside England A wicketkeeper James Foster at Durham University by Graeme Fowler, put on 37 for the first wicket with Arran Thompson.

After the century opening partnership between Belinda Clark and Lisa Keightley in Australia's innings that laid the foundations for their total, England's start was modest though it represented an improvement on the previous two One-Day Internationals where the first wicket fell on 23 and 0.

But on a sweltering and overcast day in London, England failed to convert this start into a match-winning total and despite a pugnacious effort by Taylor and Laura Harper for the fifth wicket, which added 27 in six overs, another tentative batting display gave Australia the advantage.

Theresa McGregor proved their special weapon picking up two wickets and taking the Australian man of the match award. Having bowled nine overs of her spell for no return, she came back and took two in one over finishing with 2-14 in a superb illustration of control and economy.

Earlier Clark had won the toss and added a century opening stand with Lisa Keightley. It provided the tourists with a rock solid platform for the first half of the innings though England stuck to their task well with some economical bowling and competent work in the field.

The run rate slowed progressively until the last few overs of the Australian innings. It started at more than four an over, mostly at the expense of Lucy Pearson who struggled early on to find her rhythm, perhaps overawed by the experience of playing at Lord's having just made one previous appearance here.

Both Keightley, who made a hundred on her last visit to Lord's in 1998, and Clark played confidently and made the most of the bad balls though with one needed for her half-century, Clark was deceived by a slower ball from Sarah Collyer and was caught and bowled with the score 102 for one.

Five balls and four runs after completing her half-century, Keightley also departed, spooning the ball to cover where England skipper Clare Connor held the catch.

The prize wicket of Karen Rolton, who made 79 and 61 in the previous two ODI's went to Collyer who offered an irresistible invitation for a big heave and had Arran Thompson waiting at long on for the gift. Rolton made 36 and Australia's other dangerman Michelle Goszko 24 from 24 balls to accelerate the run rate.

Connor, Collyer and Clare Taylor all kept a tight rein on Australia's run scoring opportunities finishing with two wickets each while Pearson had a day to forget, her seven overs going for 45 runs.

At a prize-giving ceremony on the steps of the Lord's pavilion, Andrew Hall of CricInfo presented the Australian player of the series award to Karen Rolton. Taylor was England's man of the match while skipper Clare Connor was named player of the series.