February 6, 2008

A big win and a meeting with Warnie

Charlotte Edwards
The tour got off to a super start when we put one over Australia for the first time in an ODI Down Under in nearly two decades



Well begun: Sarah Taylor gets Karen Rolton out caught in the first ODI © Getty Images

It was a bit of a relief to eventually arrive in Geelong for our second game against the Australian Under-21 side, the Shooting Stars, and the third of our tour.

Among other hiccups, our convoy's lead car had decided to follow the completely wrong vehicle off the freeway. We finally arrived, for a shorter warm-up than we're used to. I won my first toss of the tour and elected to bat on what was a fantastic wicket. We made 249 for 9 with Beth Morgan and Sarah Taylor both passing 50. It was good to see Beth get 70: she's worked really hard on her batting since she's been in Australia and it's paying for her.

The girls gave a good bowling performance and we bowled the opposition out for 174. All in all it was a really good day for the team considering the start we had to the tour, with two losses. Everyone seemed to be hitting their straps and getting ready for the Twenty20 at the MCG.

It was fantastic to get the series underway with the Twenty20 at the MCG. We were the curtain-raiser to the Australia against India men's Twenty20 match, which was great exposure for the women's game and something we were all really excited about. Our game started at 3.30pm and when I went out to do the toss at 3pm, I was quite surprised to see the stands already filling up.

By the end of our game there were 27,000 in there. The atmosphere was amazing and both teams put on a good show for the crowd. Unfortunately, we missed out by 21 runs, but to have a game of that standard to promote women's cricket was fantastic. There are plans for more women's games to be played ahead of men's and that can only benefit our game in the long-run. There was a bit of coverage after the game and a few write-ups in the papers over here the following day. It was also great to have Channel Nine there throughout to do a highlights package. It's always good to get the game on TV for more exposure.

The other highlight of the day was going into hospitality, courtesy of Cricket Victoria and KFC after the game to watch the men's international. It was there that I got to meet Shane Warne, Cathy Freeman, and also a favourite of all the girls - Kel from Kath and Kim. He's a legend and even entertained ideas of us getting on the show! It was also the first time we'd managed to pull out our lovely Number 1s by the Irish designer Paul Costelloe. They looked amazing on everyone and attracted plenty of compliments.

After the carnival that is Twenty20, our attention turned quickly to the one-day series. A good practice session on Saturday meant the girls were ready for their back-to-back ODIs on Sunday and Monday. Both of these were played at the MCG, which was fantastic for everybody. Playing at these great venues is always an experience and something we'll always remember.

The first ODI started with the two national anthems. Though we were very loud, we were a bit out of tune, so I don't think any of us will be going for auditions on The X Factor! It's always really special to sing the national anthem and makes you feel proud to be wearing the England shirt.

I lost the toss again and Australia asked us to bat. We posted 233 for 6 which was a fine score considering the conditions, and a great partnership of 80 between Lydia Greenway and Jenny Gunn was a highlight for me. In reply, our bowlers, especially Jenny and Nicky Shaw, got us off to a good start. They were backed up brilliantly by Holly Colvin who had literally only been in the country for 24 hours.

We bowled the Australians out for 177 and we had won our first ODI on Australian soil for the first time in 19 years. It was a real team effort and I was so proud of the girls after a disappointing start to the tour. We showed a lot of bottle and determination to overcome the best team in the women's game.

We were back in our huge changing room the next day for the second ODI of the series. I lost the toss again and Australia elected to bat. They posted 240 with Alex Blackwell scoring her maiden international hundred. She was ably supported by her twin Kate, who hit her second one-day international half-century. We got off to a disappointing start and found ourselves 24 for 3, which we never quite recovered from. We were bowled out for 156 and Australia levelled the series 1-1.



The girls, natty in their Costelloes, with their coach Mark Dobson, watch the men's Twenty20 in the hospitality area at the MCG © ECB

It was a complete role reversal from the day before and we all look forward to the games in Sydney with everything to play for.

We have a practice session on Wednesday before the third ODI on Thursday. We'll be working hard with our assistant coach Mark Lane and head coach Mark Dobson. It's Dobbo's first overseas tour with us and he's got us working hard. He's a big believer in training under pressure, and because of his degree in psychology he has a real interest in the sporting side of that to make us tougher cricketers.

Jenny Gunn is a prime example of that with the way she deals with the stick she gets from us about how she's best mates with all the South Australian players, who she's played alongside prior to the tour. She's learned to laugh it all off.

All in all it's been a really eventful couple of weeks with some highs and lows. The girls are a great group to captain because they're so receptive to everything we tell them. We're now looking forward to the Sydney leg of the tour, especially the four who have been out here since September and feel like they're going home.

We've got a tough week ahead with three one-day internationals to play. We just hope the rain stays away and we can get on with the cricket.

Charlotte Edwards' Ashes tour diary will be published weekly on Cricinfo