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January 5, 2011
Australia 7 for 194 (Blackwell 42, Poulton 39, Gunn 3-28) beat England 9 for 151 (Edwards 50, Sthalekar 2-28) by 33 runs
In the absence of the injured Claire Taylor, England's batsmen floundered against a determined Australian attack to slip to a 33-run defeat in the rain-shortened first match of their one-day series.
A third-wicket partnership worth 77 between captain Alex Blackwell and Leah Poulton was the mainstay of Australia's innings as they reached 7 for 194 in 44 overs. England captain Charlotte Edwards registered a 34th ODI fifty in response but was given precious little support as the visitors ended on 9 for 151.
Taylor, 35, was unavailable due to a shoulder injury sustained during England's second warm-up match against Western Australia on Monday, and was sorely missed as Australia chipped steadily away at the England line-up. Both new-ball bowlers, Ellyse Perry and Rene Farrell, struck early to reduce England to 2 for 5 before Edwards and left-hander Lydia Greenway fought back with a 66-run stand.
When Greenway departed as the first of two quick wickets for offspinning allrounder Lisa Sthalekar, England's slide began in earnest. Jenny Gunn and Beth Morgan were dismissed from consecutive deliveries, but the decisive blow came when Edwards, shortly after raising her half-century, was caught by Sthalekar off debutant Sarah Coyte's medium pace in the 34th over with the required rate rising steadily.
Katherine Brunt was stumped off Shelley Nitschke in between two run-outs by Perry, and despite some bright hitting by Holly Colvin and Lauren Griffiths England were well short of the par Duckworth/Lewis score when rain forced an end to play midway through the 40th over.
Australia's opening batsmen had earlier justified their captains decision to bat first with a watchful 47-run opening stand. Both were dismissed in the 20s by Gunn's impressive seamers, but Poulton and Blackwell's partnership - the highest on either side - then laid the platform for the innings.
Blackwell took her team past 150 after Poulton's departure and looked set for a 12th ODI fifty before she was stumped off Edwards for 42. Sthalekar didn't last long before becoming Gunn's third victim, but a pair of rapid cameos from Rachael Haynes and Jess Cameron provided the impetus for Australia's charge.
"It was first of all nice to get the series started and then to have a win was excellent for us and hopefully we can continue this form and this momentum through the rest of the series," said Player of the Match Nitschke.
"We would have liked a few more runs but we had a lot of contributors with the bat which was really good and hopefully that's a good sign moving forward. We'll take some confidence out of this win; we were in England a couple of years ago and had a pretty ordinary series against them so hopefully we can keep this momentum and continue to improve.
"Farrell and Perry bowled really well at the start, especially Rene, she moves the ball quite a bit and it was quite humid out there and those conditions really assisted her. Our girls did a really good job and used the conditions extremely well early, they probably just needed a bit more luck."
The two teams meet in the second ODI at the WACA on Friday. The extent of Taylor's injury will be reviewed before that game.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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