England Women v Australia Women, 5th Match, Chennai February 25, 2007

Taylor ton in vain as Aussies cruise home

Cricinfo staff

Australia Women 217 for 4 (Sthalekar 85*, Bulow 55) beat England Women 216 for 7 (C Taylor 113*) by six wickets

Lisa Sthalekar lead Australia's chase with a 84-ball 85 © GNNphoto

An unbeaten century from Claire Taylor wasn't enough for England as Lisa Sthalekar guided Australia to a six-wicket victory at the Chemplast Ground in Chennai.

This was England's third straight defeat of the quadrangular series, leaving their final hopes hanging by a thread, but for Australia this win has reignited their tournament after defeats against India and New Zealand.

Sthalekar told Cricinfo the chase wasn't as easy as it appeared: "During our batting innings, a couple of balls rolled a bit while others popped up. The wicket was a bit inconsistent but like the other day the outfield was lightning fast.

"Melissa Bulow has had a good first game for this tournament. Karen Rolton started hitting straight up and the two got a partnership in few balls which was what set up our victory."

They completed their run chase in highly professional style with more than 10 overs to spare as Sthalekar struck 85 off 84 balls with 12 boundaries. Melissa Bulow had provided the early foundation with 55 from 72 deliveries after Jenny Gunn had struck early to remove Alex Blackwell.

However, after that England's attack struggled as the Australians plundered boundaries around the quick-scoring ground. Karen Rolton hammered seven in a 38-ball 35. Laura Newton ended as the pick of England's bowlers, but her two wickets couldn't turn the match around.

Charlotte Edwards admitted it was England's batting which let them down. "We were on a slightly different wicket today, one which was more up and down," she said, "but we didn't bat well enough and probably needed 30 more runs. Claire played fantastically but no one stuck around long enough with her."

The result was particularly harsh on Taylor, who'd come to the middle in the fourth over and stayed for the rest of the innings. England slumped to 37 for 4 in the 13th over when Charlotte Edwards fell to Kirsten Pike, but Taylor managed to form useful stands with Gunn, Lydia Greenway and Beth Morton to bring some respectability to the total.

However, Taylor took little satisfaction from her effort: "It was a bad game and the wicket was tough. I set myself a goal that I would stay on as the wickets kept falling. We need to get back into believing we can really win."

Taylor's century was her fifth in ODIs and included 15 boundaries and the only six of the innings. But her knock just went to show how many runs were on offer and the Australians didn't waste their chance. For England, though, the story gets tougher as Edwards revealed injury concerns are hitting the team. "We are now faced with a few injuries - Caroline Atkins with an injured leg - and need to regroup in these two days so that we can come back and show some pride."