Only Test 2010/11

Australia v England

Bankstown Oval, Sydney: 22nd – 25th January 2011

Charlotte Edwards won the toss and had no hesitation in choosing to bat, but it soon became apparent that batting would be a struggle.

Ellyse Perry broke through Heather Knight, LBW for 2, while Rene Farrell accounted for Lydia Greenway. When Perry trapped Caroline Atkins for 5, England were in all sorts of bother at 3/28. Against this, Edwards stood solid and was joined in a 4th wicket partnership by Jenny Gunn. When the latter fell to Rachael Haynes, Edwards had lost her most reliable partner. The team limped to 8/181 at the end of the first day and early on the second were all out for 207. The captain stood tall, remaining not out 114 in what was her first Ashes century, an epic knock of 389 minutes.

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Australia had nothing to laugh about as they too struggled with the bat. Against the pace of Isa Guha and Katherine Brunt there was little resistance, at one stage 6/68. Jess Cameron and Alyssa Healy provided a little spark, but once they were dismissed there wasn’t much more to speak of. At 9/159, Alex Blackwell declared, 48 runs short of the England innings. It was a bold move, designed to pressure the English. Besides, a drawn Test was of no value to Blackwell and her team. They needed to win. It was an inspired declaration.

We declared behind England’s first innings total to move the game along and give us more time in the match. England had batted very slowly in the first innings and never really showed an attacking mindset in the game. Perhaps because they only needed to draw the one Test match “series” to take the Ashes home again. This bold move was initiated by our coach Richard McInnes and supported by me as captain.” – Blackwell

Batting wasn’t any easier for the England team in the second innings, and after Sarah Coyte and Farrell had removed the openers Blackwell ran out Greenway to leave England reeling at 3/35. Once again it was Edwards and Gunn shouldering the load and they defended grimly before both were removed by Farrell in quick succession. Farrell continued to taunt the batting team and brought England to her knees at 8/106. Still they had some fight. A ninth wicket partnership of 41 between Guha and Holly Colvin gave some hope before both were run out. England all out for 149, Rene Farrell taking a career best 5-23.

Australia needing 198 to win lost Rachael Haynes late on the third day to finish at 1/29.

I knew 198 was a very achievable run chase for us but we must be positive in our batting approach. We were clear with the runs required and broke the chase down into smaller targets.”

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On the fourth and final day, Shelley Nitschke was trapped by Guha for 20, Australia 2/53. And that’s about as good as it got for England. Sarah Elliott played the innings of her life and at the other end, Alex Blackwell did what she does best: chase down a total. Unfortunately the skipper was dismissed for 74, just before victory arrived. Elliott remained not out on 81. Australia had won the Test match by 7 wickets and in the process had regained the Ashes.

Blackwell joined Mollie Dive and Raelee Thompson as the only captains to have won the Ashes back from England. That she played a key role with the bat in the run chase is typical Blackwell.

England 207 (Edwards 114*, Perry 4/56) and 149 (Gunn 30, Farrell 5/23) lost to Australia 9 dec 159 (Healy 37, Guha 3/27, Gunn 2/24) and 3/198 (Elliott 81*, Blackwell 74, Brunt 2/39) by 7 wickets

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