RESULT
1st ODI, Adelaide, February 03, 2022, Women's Ashes
(45/50 ov, T:206) 178

AUS Women won by 27 runs

Player Of The Match
73 (91)
beth-mooney
Report

Beth Mooney, Darcie Brown the heroes as Australia retain the Ashes

England's last pair of Brunt and Cross chased improbable victory only to fall agonisingly short

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
03-Feb-2022
Darcie Brown picked up an Ashes-winning four-for, Australia vs England, 1st ODI, Women's Ashes, Canberra, February 3, 2022

Darcie Brown picked up an Ashes-winning four-for  •  Getty Images

Australia 205 for 9 (Mooney 73, Cross 3-33, Brunt 3-40) beat England 178 (Sciver 45, Brunt 32, Brown 4-34) by 27 runs
Young quick Darcie Brown delivered the match-winning performance as Australia overcame an indifferent batting performance to secure an Ashes-retaining victory in Canberra with England left to watch a contest slip from their grasp for the second time in four days.
The result gave Australia an unassailable 8-4 lead in the multi-format series with two ODIs remaining and meant the Ashes would remain in their possession as they have done since 2015.
Beth Mooney's 73 had helped Australia scrape over 200 which started to look considerably more daunting when Brown rattled England early in the chase including removing Heather Knight for a first-ball duck.
Nat Sciver attempted to hold the innings together, but when she departed to a superb return catch from Brown with 103 still needed the task was beyond England's lower order. Last pair Katherine Brunt and Kate Cross briefly suggested something remarkable, but it wasn't to be.
A big moment had come when Amy Jones clubbed a full toss from Tahlia McGrath to deep midwicket in the 20th over which the third umpire ruled was a borderline legal delivery.
Brown, who now has two four-wicket hauls in her first four ODIs, had given Australia the ideal start as they defended what appeared an underwhelming total albeit on a surface that offered some help throughout. Tammy Beaumont edged an outswinger to slip and Knight, after her epic 168, was pinned in front by a full delivery which she knew would be a wasted review.
Megan Schutt became the second-fastest bowler to 100 wickets in women's ODIs when Lauren Winfield-Hill pulled to deep square-leg to leave England 39 for 3. Schutt, who had been left out of the Test to manage her workload after Covid-19, later returned to end a threatening stand between Brunt and Danni Wyatt.
After McGrath had the marginal no-ball call go her way, she pinned Sophia Dunkley lbw in her next over to leave the chase looking a tall order even before Sciver got a leading edge against Brown which was well held diving forward in her follow through.
England had held control for the majority of Australia's innings but in the final outcome the eighth-wicket stand of 52 between Mooney, who did not field due to quad tightness, and debutant Alana King proved vital.
As she had against India in Mackay earlier this season - when standing in at the top of the order with her unbeaten 125 - Mooney glued Australia together after they had lost 3 for 7.
Alyssa Healy and Meg Lanning had to be cautious against the moving ball and Australia's powerplay total of 34 for 1 equalled their lowest since the 2017 World Cup.
Just when the pair were finding their feet, England made substantial inroads. Cross produced a brilliant delivery which jagged back at Lanning to take the off stump and Ellyse Perry was then defeated in the air by Sophie Ecclestone which resulted in a return catch and only the second golden duck of her ODI career. It was also the first time since February 2019 that her ODI average had dropped below 50.
Healy then fell to an outstanding piece of glovework from Jones who completed the stumping with the foot still in the air.
Amid the wickets, there was an 11-over stretch where Australia scored just 22 runs as Ecclestone and Sciver stifled the innings. Nine runs off Ecclestone's sixth over kicked things up a gear and when Mooney took Shrubsole over deep midwicket for six there was a sense of a momentum swing.
However, Brunt produced a wicked delivery that nipped back to take McGrath's off stump and Ashleigh Gardner was beaten by Knight's sharp work at midwicket.
Mooney was in danger of running out of partners when the seventh wicket fell with nine overs remaining but King offered good support and clubbed useful boundaries. Once again, Australia found a way.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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