Australia 147 (Coyte 44, Sthalekar 41, Shrubsole 3-24) beat England 145 (Greenway 49, Ferling 3-35) by two runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
England came up agonisingly short in their second thriller in four games. They had been shocked by Sri Lanka's last pair off the last ball. Today, their last pair of Holly Colvin and Anya Shrubsole almost beat Australia. Almost. Having added 31 with Shrubsole to take England within three runs of victory, Colvin edged a cut to the wicketkeeper. It would have been a particularly dispiriting end to the game for Shrubsole, who had kept England alive with the bat after having run through the Australia top order in the morning.
England have now lost 14 ODIs on neutral territory to Australia without having ever beaten them. There wasn't much to choose between the two sides. Australia were 32 for 5 at one stage, England were 39 for 6 as the seam trio of Megan Schutt, Holly Ferling and Julie Hunter came hard at them. A battling 49 by Lydia Greenway seemed to have finally set England on their way to victory but her fall with the score on 114 turned the game again. Colvin and Shrubsole almost pulled off an improbable escape. Almost.
When Katherine Brunt holed out to mid-on off Lisa Sthalekar, Australia captain Jodie Fields would have thought the game was hers with England on 114 for 9 in the 42nd over. Sthalekar was Player of the Match for lifting Australia from 15 for 3 to 114 for 6 along with Sarah Coyte and returning figures of 10-5-19-1 with her offspin. She was to take the game's decisive catch as well, that of Greenway, who hit Ferling straight to Sthalekar at short extra cover in the 41st over after painstakingly guiding them past 100 during a 113-ball stay.
Fields now needed just one of Colvin or Shrubsole, and crowded them with fielders. Colvin scattered them, punching and steering Coyte for boundaries in the 43rd over. An outside edge in the same over snipped a further four runs off the target. Shrubsole stepped out to Sthalekar and just cleared mid-on, and dispatched Ferling to the deep point rope. With 12 needed off five overs, the last pair sensibly started pushing for singles.
Fields brought her field back in, and Sthalekar, again, at short midwicket almost ran out the non-striker Shrubsole with a direct hit. Replays showed Shrubsole had just made it back, but England weren't so lucky next ball. Colvin went back to cut, and Fields jumped with a scream as soon as she took the edge.
The England last pair's fight stood out amid poor batting by the specialist batsmen on both sides against the moving ball. It had been expected to move around in the morning, which is why Charlotte Edwards asked Australia to bat. Brunt was her usual bustling self, moving the ball away at pace. Shrubsole complicated matters for Australia with some huge inswingers, one of which flattened Jess Cameron's middle stump. Rachael Haynes played a loose drive to be caught by the bowler Shrubsole. Three others, Alex Blackwell, Meg Lanning and Fields, perished trying various things outside off stump -a prod, a cut, a drive. A scoreline of 32 for 5 was a fair indication of both, how well England had bowled, and how poorly Australia had batted.
Sthalekar was joined by Coyte, and the pair put on 82. Sthalekar was solid and busy as ever, while Coyte showed off her hitting with some stinging sweeps. England had the chance to break through when Sthalekar cut Jenny Gunn to point, but Greenway could not hold on. Australia were 58 for 5 then, Sthalekar was 11. It was Arran Brindle, brought back in the 32nd over, who eventually bowled Sthalekar with a loopy slower one first ball on return. Coyte found Shrubsole at mid-on off Colvin a few overs later, and the innings subsided at 147 in the 45th over.
Edwards began with a couple of fours in Schutt's opening over, but was given leg-before in her next after walking across, though replays showed the incoming ball would have missed leg. Edwards has tended to do that early in her innings this tournament - a similar appeal was turned down previous ball. Schutt made another big incision in her third over, as Sarah Taylor went after a very wide one and edged it to slip.
Danielle Wyatt fell after a few crisp boundaries to Ferling's first ball, edging a cut behind. Ferling was replacing the ill Ellyse Perry, but made sure Australia didn't miss their premier quick bowler. All of 17 and playing her second game, she ran in with energy and generated bounce that troubled England.
Hunter was the slowest of the three Australia seamers, but she moved the ball both ways. Brindle went chasing a widish outswinger, Heather Knight went lbw to one that nipped in. Gunn avoided a Ferling bouncer, but could not keep out a straightening low full toss next ball. At 39 for 6, 148 looked much farther.
It had turned into a survival game now for England. Greenway and Marsh took nearly 26 overs to add 57. Both defended resolutely, Marsh's resistance ending on 22 off 75 when she walked across to Coyte. Replays had it just missing leg stump, but Marsh had left it exposed, and that could have influenced the umpire.
Greenway now started opening up, swatting boundaries through the leg side with ease. With England just 34 away, though, Sthalekar came in the way of a drive. Colvin and Shrubsole almost got England home. Almost.
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo