Australia took the first points of the Women’s Ashes series with a close-fought two-wicket win in the ODI opener in Brisbane.
A fine innings from Alex Blackwell did the job for Australia as they won the first ODI in the Women’s Ashes, and went 2-0 up in the points tally for the multi-format series.
Blackwell fought almost a lone hand in making 67 as the hosts chased down 228-9 despite England taking it down to the wire with a disciplined bowling effort.
Much like the World Cup game between the two sides the result was still up in the air with two overs to go, but Blackwell – aided by some big hitting from Ashleigh Gardner – took her side over the line.
After all the rain Brisbane had endured it was a surprise to even start on time. The sun and the super-soppers had worked their magic and though it was a touch damp underfoot the outfield was a world away from the lake it was yesterday.
Australia skipper Rachael Haynes won the toss and put England in.
Despite the hashtags and the pre-match talk it was England who started with a bit of swagger, Tammy Beaumont strolling into the channel and dismissing Megan Schutt over the mid-wicket fence for six.
The openers progressed nicely before Beaumont sliced Perry to Megan Schutt at mid-off.
Taylor joined Winfield and Australia switched to spin, Winfield lucky to survive on 22 after Jonassen was unable to hold on to a firmly struck caught-and-bowled chance.
At the other end, on a dry track that looked to conducive to spin, the 20-year-old Amanda-Jade Wellington was reviving English nightmares of Shane Warne with some vicious, spitting leg-breaks but Taylor and Winfield pushed on with more aggression and they were only separated by a run-out – Winfield departing for 48.
Taylor milked the spinners nicely before she was trapped in front by Ashleigh Gardner and when captain Heather Knight picked out deep-midwicket off Jonassen England had slightly lost their momentum.
Fran Wilson and Nat Sciver set about taking the total up towards 250 and they put on 50 for the fifth wicket before Sciver was well caught at long-on by Elyse Villani.
In the end England reached 228-9. With quite a few starts but nobody passing 50 it seemed a touch below par but on a turning wicket they were in the game.
Australia got off to a quick start with Alyssa Healy hitting three fours in Brunt’s opening over but – carrying on from her World Cup spell of 6-46 – Anya Shrubsole got the breakthrough when Nicole Bolton nicked behind.
Healy followed two overs later, much to Brunt’s delight, and that brought together Perry and Elyse Villani who put on 54 and progressed to drinks with England searching for a breakthrough.
It duly came one ball after the interval, as is so often the case, when Hartley – who made a habit of dismissing the opposition’s big guns throughout the World Cup – had Perry stumped with a lovely bit of bowling.
Captain Haynes was next in with Villani set at the other end but in looking for a quick single Villani was dismissed after some smart work by Nat Sciver and Sarah Taylor.
Haynes made up for it by putting on 63 with vice-captain Blackwell and it took a superb catch by Sciver to see the back of her for 30.
Blackwell wasn’t to be denied though, using all her nous and experience to shepherd her side towards victory, even as England pushed, probed and got the run-rate climbing.
Her excellence sees the hosts take the first ODI and accompanying points on offer, with the second ODI taking place at Coffs Harbour on Thursday 26 October.
Heather Knight (captain, Berkshire)
Tammy Beaumont (Kent)
Katherine Brunt (Yorkshire)
Sophie Ecclestone (Lancashire)
Georgia Elwiss (Sussex)
Jenny Gunn (Warwickshire)
Alex Hartley (Lancashire)
Danielle Hazell (Yorkshire)
Laura Marsh (Kent)
Anya Shrubsole (Somerset)
Nat Sciver (Surrey)
Sarah Taylor (wicketkeeper, Sussex)
Fran Wilson (Middlesex)
Lauren Winfield (Yorkshire)
Danni Wyatt (Sussex)
Report courtesy of the ECB