1st ODI, Cheltenham, August 15, 2005, Australia Women tour of England
(49.1/50 ov, T:223) 210

AUS Women won by 12 runs

Player Of The Match
38* (30) & 4/19

Fitzpatrick stars as Aussies grab first blood

Cathryn Fitzpatrick starred with both bat and ball to help Australia to the first honours of the NatWest series, as they defeated England by 12 runs

Australia 222 for 7 (Keightley 56, Rolton 41, Sthalekar 44) defeat England 210 (Brindle, Fitzpatrick 4-19) by 12 runs

Alex and Kate Blackwell celebrate as Australia pull off victory at Cheltenham © Getty Images
England's tail choked spectacularly as they lost their last five wickets for three runs to gift Australia victory at Cheltenham. Cathryn Fitzpatrick starred with both bat and ball to help Australia to the first honours of the NatWest series, as they defeated England by 12 runs. Arran Brindle struck 81 from 78 balls to take England close to their target of 223, but they choked in the face of some hostile Fitzpatrick fire.
That the world's best bowler took 4 for 19 may have come as no surprise, but her batting has been a revelation this year, as she followed up her maiden Test fifty at Hove with 38 not out at Cheltenham.
Battling rearguards from Australian tails are becoming something of a feature this summer. They were given a cracking start by Lisa Keightley and Karen Rolton who took Australia to 101 for 2 and, although Clare Connor reversed the momentum with three quick wickets, Australia's tail fought back strongly - led by Fitzpatrick.
England were in early difficulty in their reply at 13 for 2 and couldn't generate enough momentum from there. Brindle was again in form, following up her century in the first Test with 81. By the time she came to the crease England were way behind the run rate and with much to do but, with the momentum-changing ability of Kevin Pietersen, she clubbed England close to victory. By the time she was out, she must have felt the job was virtually done, with England needing just 16 with four wickets remaining.
Not so. They utterly collapsed as Fitzpatrick and Emma Liddell pulled them apart. Liddell made the breakthrough with Brindle's wicket, and she ended with 3 for 29, a haul which was richly deserved.
Keightley led the initial charge with 56, with Rolton and Lisa Sthalekar both reaching their forties. They looked good for 250, but England dragged their way back into the match with Connor's three-card trick. Shortly after Rolton was run out, Connor removed the Blackwell twins and then added the dangerous Sthalekar as Australia wobbled from 150 for 2 to 176 for 5. But then came Fitzpatrick's boost which proved vital.
Belinda Clark's woes, meanwhile, continued. After bagging a pair in the first Test she at least got off the mark at Cheltenham but, after reaching 16 she fell to Isa Guha, who was returning after a thigh injury. Clare Taylor was also back in the side and took the vital wicket of Keightley, whose 56 included ten fours.
It wasn't a good match for Jo Watts on debut. After the much publicised inclusion of 15-year-old Holly Colvin at Hove, England blooded yet another teenage spin sensation. Watts, a comparative old-timer at 18, was handed her debut, having missed out to Colvin in the longer format. Colvin's debut made the front page of The Times, Watts' wasn't much to write home about: she went wicketless in her ten overs, which went for 42.
She will now head to Kidderminster on Friday in search of her first wicket, when England will look to level the five-match series.

Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo

ENG Women Innings
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