Australia v England, 1st ODI, Melbourne January 19, 2014

Greenway and Brindle bring Ashes closer

Raf Nicholson at the MCG

England 3 for 210 (Greenway 69*, Brindle 64*) beat Australia 3 for 209 (Blackwell 82*, Perry 65*; Gunn 1-30) by 7 wickets

England took one step closer towards retaining the women's Ashes in Melbourne as they triumphed in the first ODI by seven wickets, going 8-0 up in the points-based multi-format series. It was Lydia Greenway and Arran Brindle, batting at No. 4 and 5, who did the job for England, as the two put on 142 runs in 28 overs, finishing unbeaten on 69 and 64 respectively, to ease them to victory with 19 balls to spare.

England had begun their chase well, with a fluent innings from captain Charlotte Edwards taking them to 50 without loss in the first 14 overs as Ellyse Perry struggled to bowl a consistent line. Heather Knight, though, never looked comfortable at the crease, and was out for 9 after Meg Lanning brought Julie Hunter, drafted into the ODI squad at the last minute as cover for the injured Sarah Coyte, into the attack. Hunter seized her chance in her second over when she tempted Knight to swing at one and had her caught by Jess Cameron at wide third slip.

Two more wickets then fell in successive overs as Sarah Taylor was caught at mid-on on 9, driving at a good-length ball from Erin Osborne, and Edwards went lbw for 41 in the first over of Holly Ferling's second spell. England, at 68 for 3 in 20 overs and with two new batsmen at the crease, looked in trouble.

But that was not accounting for the talents of Greenway and Brindle, who took 89 balls to reach their 50 partnership but then began to play their signature strokes around the ground: Brindle the drive and Greenway the sweep. Admittedly, neither batsman played a chanceless innings: Greenway could easily have been run out after a direct hit from Lanning at midwicket without scoring, and she was lucky to survive a caught and bowled chance on 8 to Jess Jonassen. Brindle was later dropped by Jonassen on 47 off another caught and bowled chance.

Ultimately, though, Lanning, aged just 21 and captaining her first international match standing in for the injured Jodie Fields, struggled to break the partnership of the two experienced middle-order players, as the pair became increasingly fluent to lead England to a memorable victory.

Earlier, Australia had also recovered from a precarious position after Lanning won the toss and chose to bat. Anya Shrubsole struck in her fourth over of the day after Elyse Villani, having hit two straight drives for four, was out lbw for 8 to a fuller delivery. Jenny Gunn, brought on as second-change in the 11th over, then took a wicket with her first ball as Lanning sliced a full toss straight to Heather Knight at gully.

Australia's innings failed to progress quickly in the crucial middle period as the tight lines of Gunn, Natalie Sciver and Danielle Hazell ensured that between overs 11 and 24 Australia scored just 29 runs including three boundaries, reining in Alex Blackwell and the usually fluent Jess Cameron. Cameron was eventually out for 21 from 50 balls off the bowling of Danielle Wyatt, caught by Shrubsole running to her right and diving to take the catch at mid-off, leaving Australia 68 for 3 at the halfway point of their innings.

The recovery came slowly but surely after Wyatt's two overs went for 22 runs, and some wayward bowling from England, including 15 wides, allowed Blackwell and new batsman Perry to rotate the strike. Blackwell was given two lives, dropped off the bowling of Gunn when on 7 and almost stumped on 20 by Taylor off the bowling of Brindle, but then began to cut loose, hitting a six over midwicket in the 48th over. She finished on 82 off 121 balls, her 16th half-century in ODIs and was well supported by Perry: in the last 10 overs the pair added 78 runs, and Australia finished on 209 for 3. On a slow pitch it looked a good score, until England's own middle-order found their feet.

After this win, England's lead of 8-0 in this Ashes series is almost unassailable: Australia must now win the next two ODIs and all three T20s to win back the trophy. It will be a very tough ask.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on January 21, 2014, 1:18 GMT

    I too wish that the media would pay more attention to women's cricket, especially providing live streaming on the web. Thanks to Cricket Australia for providing video coverage of the (only) Test match which was far more interesting than the dismal display from the England men. For some reason (possible the dreaded "broadcast restrictions") live streaming of the 1st ODI wasn't available in the area where I live (west coast of Canada), but I was able to listen to the Australian radio broadcast of the game on my computer. Congratulations to the England women for a well fought game, and good luck in the next one. Although the women's games are not as high scoring as the men's, they are every bit as exciting (and frequently more so). Time for the male dominated sports media to pull its head from where the sun don't shine and start giving women's cricket the coverage it deserves.

  • John on January 20, 2014, 10:47 GMT

    @ Stuart_Lord on (January 19, 2014, 20:04 GMT) I'm not as up on the women's game but always enjoy watching them play when televised.I am however surprised that Sarah Taylor doesn't score more runs based on what I saw of he a year or 2 ago when she looked in a different league to any other player on the pitch. I like the BBL sometimes (esp when Wright.Lumb and Hales are involved) and will occasionally watch some of the other games but I'd definitely rather watch the women's games

  • Stuart on January 19, 2014, 20:04 GMT

    @JG2704 I quite agree with you about Greenway and another exciting new addition to the squad is Kate Cross - she took 3 for 35 in both innings of the test match, making a vital contribution for England. Perry may be a good allrounder for Australia, but England have a more balanced side. In this last ODI, it was the tight bowling that really kept the Ozzies down to a low total and although Cross did not strike in this match, the other bowlers came to the fore instead. As for media coverage - well this seems to indicate a rather unfortunate bias towards the mens game. Its almost as if womens cricket is treated as a sideshow, when in fact the England girls are putting their male counterparts to shame and make far more exciting viewing - (except of course if you happen to be an Australian..!)

  • John on January 19, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    @WarwickshireRulesOk on (January 19, 2014, 12:26 GMT) I said similar the other day (re ladies playing for the men's side) but it wasnt published. And yes I also agree that it's very sad that Sky aren't showing this. They show men's ODI's between NZ and India and NZ and WI (which are of far less interest to me) but I guess it's sods law for the ladies that they're putting up such a fine effort and getting no TV exposure when all the men's lame efforts are being shown/repeated/annalysed .... Even an hour's highlights show , surely shouldn't be too much to ask?

    I think they are showing some of the latter games (maybe just T20s) if that's any consolation.

    Greenway reminds me of Morgan. Obviously doesn't have the power but has a great temperament / deft touches etc (from what I saw in the summer Ashes

  • Paul on January 19, 2014, 19:00 GMT

    @WarwickshireRulesOk Cricket Australia have been streaming the matches live on their website with the same commentary as 5 live extra running with the feed. It cheers me up in the mornings.

  • Stuart on January 19, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    What a contrast... On the one hand the England men haven't won a single (international) match in their tour of Oz - on the other the England women have now won their test match and the first ODI, needing only to win one of the remaining ODIs and T20s to retain the Ashes..

    Given the England womens' dominance in the summer Ashes, I suggest that a whitewash is a distinct possibility.

  • Mark on January 19, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    Great job by the England women! Can we swap them over with the men for the last two ODI's to save some pride? On second thoughts, better not as they'd only lose the Women's Ashes! But seriously though, as an avid cricket supporter I wish to thank the England girls for nulling some of the pain felt during the men's no-show in The Ashes. England women are well organised, bowl to a plan and show guts when if difficult situations.

    Only pity is that their exploits are not widely publicised or broadcast on TV. I know who I'd rather watch at the moment!

    My daughter is only 8 and loved listening to the record radio broadcasts on Radio 5 Live extra - another convert to Women's cricket.

    Keep up the good work and finish the job. 7-0 would be nice!

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