Australia v India, 3rd women's ODI, Sydney November 5, 2008

Edwards helps Australia secure series

Cricinfo staff

Australia Women 6 for 223 (Edwards 96, Fields 54) beat India Women 7 for 169 (Sthalekar 4-20) by 54 runs

Sarah Edwards top scored for Australia with 96 © Getty Images

Sarah Edwards helped deliver the series to Australia with a career-best 96 that set up a convincing 54-run victory over India at North Sydney Oval. India were set 224 to win and a four-wicket haul from Lisa Sthalekar ensured the visitors never looked like reaching the target and Australia will now head into the remaining two matches with an unassailable 3-0 lead.

Edwards was given a promotion to No. 3 and made the most of the opportunity with her first ODI half-century. She combined with Leah Poulton (32) for a 36-run partnership that gave Australia a solid start but it was the work of Edwards and Jodie Fields that really turned the heat on India.

Their 114-run fifth-wicket stand was a record for Australia against India and their stability helped the side lift the run-rate to seven an over for the second half of the innings. Fields struck one six and scored at nearly a run a ball in her 54 before she departed in the second-last over.

Edwards was searching for a maiden century in the 50th over when she finally departed, caught off the bowling of Nooshin Al Khadeer. But Australia's 6 for 223 - their highest total of the series - was always going to challenge India and a stifling ten-over spell of 4 for 20 from Sthalekar ended any hope of the tourists keeping the series alive.

Amita Sharma made an entertaining unbeaten 34 towards the end to push India up to 7 for 169 but it was just window-dressing for a side that had slumped to 4 for 73 in the 27th over. The series now heads to Canberra for the final two matches on Saturday and Sunday and Australia will be seeking a clean sweep.

They will enter the games confident in a batting line-up that is in solid form. Edwards said she had relished the chance to get out to the crease earlier than usual.

"It was great to get an opportunity batting higher up the order today," Edwards said. "I've been playing a middle order for a role in bits and pieces, so to get an opportunity at No. 3 and get set and bat through is really good.

"Jodie [Fields] is fantastic to bat with. She comes in and rotates the strike straight away and controls what the bowlers are doing, so it was great to work with her and put a big partnership together. It would have been so good to get my first hundred but we had to hit out in the last over and I was feeling very tired at that stage."