In a low-scoring game, the English women have won the solitary test match at Perth. On day 2, the chances for England did not look too bright after the Aussie women edged past, with a narrow 6-run first innings lead, despite a mid-morning Australian collapse, engineered by the gallant English bowlers. After a modest 201 on the first day, England hit back strongly to reduce Australia to 37/5. However, Captain Jodie Fields and her 23-year old partner Ellyse Perry gathered themselves to put up stiff resistance for the sixth wicket. The two of them put up a very useful 55-run partnership, which was finally broken by test debutant Kathryn Cross, when Fields slashed to an unusually wide delivery and the edge flew to Jenny Gunn stationed at gully. Gunn brought off a marvelous diving catch lunging to her left and Fields was on her way to the pavilion after making 43. Cross bowled brilliantly to finish with 3 wickets for 35 runs in 18 overs, 10 of which were maidens. After Fields’ departure, Perry continued to build the Australian innings further. In the company of Erin Osborne, she helped in adding 85 invaluable runs to the seventh wicket partnership. Perry was finally bowled, when she was on 71 to give Jenny Gunn her only wicket in the innings. Though Gunn got just the one wicket, her bowling was marvelous, as she yielded a meager 14 runs in her 18 overs. After Osborne was out with the score standing at 188, the Australian first innings folded quickly at 207. With just a few overs remaining on day 2, the Australian women polished off the top English order by dismissing openers, Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor. To add to England’s woes, their one-drop player was also shown the way to the pavilion. When day 2 ended with England tottering at 18/3, no one would have given England any chance of a victory.
Even on day 3, despite the middle order providing some credible resistance against fiery spells from Perry and Ferrell, England could only reach 190 in their second innings. The most notable feature of England’s second innings was a bravely played knock of 56 by their skipper Charlotte Edwards. It was Edwards’ ninth fifty-plus score in an Ashes Test. No other woman has done so in the Ashes series. Edwards was out LBW to a beautiful Perry in-swinger, which struck her toe in line with the stumps. After the England’s second innings, only 90 minutes of play was left on the third day. But that was enough to turn the game upside down. Before the Australian women began batting for the second time, England looked like losing the match. But in Australia’s second innings, the English women bowled with fire. Brunt and Cross ran through the top order to reduce Australia to 57/5. With 128 still required for victory on the final day, England gained the edge at the end of day 3. As play began on day 4, overnight batsmen, Elliot and Perry added 44 for the sixth wicket, which was the highest partnership of the innings. Once Perry departed at 99, the end came quickly with England winning the match by 61 runs.
From the Australian angle, Ellyse Perry excelled with bat and ball in all four innings. She was the top scorer in both innings with 71 and 31, in addition to having impressive bowling figures of 8/79 in the match. For England, Anya Shrubsole was the best bowler with match figures of 7/99. She bowled beautifully in both innings but more so in Australia’s second knock. Along with Jenny Gunn, Shrubsole finished the Australian tail on a pitch that had developed cracks, some of which were as wide as an inch. The test match victory gives England 6 points straightaway. With a maximum possible 30 points on offer in entire Ashes Series, England go to the 3 ODIs and 3 T20 games with a decisive advantage. The first of the three ODIs begins in Melbourne on January 19, 2014. All the English women need to do now is to collect 10 more points and take the Ashes home.
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