Australia v England, 1st women's Test, Sydney, 4th day January 25, 2011

Elliott and Blackwell regain the Ashes for Australia

ESPNcricinfo staff

Australia 9 for 159 dec & 3 for 198 (Elliott 81*, Blackwell 74) beat England 207 and 149 by 7 wickets
Scorecard

Australia hold the women's Ashes for the first time in six years after the debutant Sarah Elliott and the captain Alex Blackwell held their nerve to secure a seven-wicket victory. Elliott, the No.3, played the ideal anchor role with a committed 81 not out, while Blackwell increased her pace once she was set and finished with 74.

England controlled the first three days of the contest, but Australia's top order stood up to reach 3 for 198 at the end of a warm day at Bankstown Oval. Elliott and Blackwell delivered the match-winning stand of 125, which ultimately allowed Australia to lift the trophy they handed over to England way back in 2005.

Australia, who resumed at 1 for 29 on the final day, lost the opener Shelley Nitschke for 20 when she was lbw to Isa Guha in the morning. Nitschke had put on 46 with Elliott before she was joined by Blackwell for the game's crucial phase.

It was tough going before lunch, with only 48 runs added in the first session, but Elliott and Blackwell were able to lift the rate after the break. By tea they required 30 for victory and the only hiccup came when Blackwell was trapped in front by Katherine Brunt with the second new ball. Elliott, who struck one four in her 262-ball marathon, stayed until the end, hitting the winning run with a single to fine leg.

"Sarah has been around the team for a long time now and it was great to see her hit the winning runs," Blackwell said. "This is just a great feeling and I'm just so happy to be able to bring the Ashes home.

"I am so proud of the team. It's been a great four days and we'll all remember this for a long time. I was part of the team that lost the Ashes back in 2005 for the first time in 40 years, so to be captain of this team to win them back again is a great feeling and a tremendous honour."

Australia stormed back into the game on the third day when Rene Farrell, the Player of the Match, captured 5 for 23 and helped dismiss the tourists for 149. The one-off Test victory follows England's 4-1 success in the Twenty20 series.

"Obviously I'm absolutely gutted to hand over the Ashes," Charlotte Edwards said. "Our bowlers did a fantastic job but unfortunately we didn't put enough runs on the board. We would have liked to make it a bigger chase. I'm proud of how the team has backed each other and really fought to the end. We've had a relatively inexperienced side out here and for many of them this was their first Test."

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