England v Australia
County Ground, Worcester: 24th – 27th August 2005
There were three keenly fought ODI matches, then the last hurrah, the second Test match of the series and Belinda Clark’s final Test as both player and captain. There would be two more ODIs and a T20 match, but this Test was to be the last for Clark.
Australia were sent in to bat at Worcester by Clare Connor and immediately Katherine Brunt had the Aussies in trouble.
“Brunt loved a challenge and was always up for a fight. She never gave an inch out on the cricket field, she was quite quick, not as quick as Fitzpatrick though. Bowled great line and length with some outswing, never afraid to bowl a bouncer or two as well.” – Karen Rolton
After Lisa Keightley was runout cheaply, Brunt disposed of both Clark and Rolton, leaving the Aussies in trouble at 3/42. Kate Blackwell followed soon after, before the rescue unit of Lisa Sthalekar and Alex Blackwell rolled up their sleeves once more. But even the two of them couldn’t stop the flow of wickets and with little resistance in the tail, Australia was out for an under par 131, with the impressive Brunt taking 5-47.
Karen Rolton shared the new ball with Cathryn Fitzpatrick and immediately broke through the defences of opener Laura Newton, LBW for a duck. Left arm pace bowler Emma Liddell then accounted for Charlotte Edwards and it was looking as though Australia would begin to claw their way back into the match when England was 2/36, but the home side kept plugging away and repelled the Australian attack and then overtook their score. At 9/204 Australia might have felt like they were back in it, but as in the first Test, a brilliant tenth wicket partnership of 85 runs by Brunt and Isa Guha gave England a solid 289 run total.
In the second innings Keightley, Clark, Rolton and Sthalekar were back in the shed early, courtesy of Brunt and Jenny Gunn and Australia were 4/18. Kate Blackwell then provided resistance and runs, but watched in dismay as she lost sister Alex, Fitzpatrick and finally Julie Hayes before getting out herself for 72 with the score at 8/179. Keeper Julia Price fell straight away, before yet another heroic mission for the tenth wicket this time by Shelley Nitschke and Liddell of 53 runs before being all out for 232. It left England only 75 runs to win. They made hard work of it but ran out eventual winners by six wickets.
The fairytale finish for Belinda Clark was not to be and she lost her final Test match as captain. Ironically, it was the only Test she ever lost as a player or captain.
Australia 131 (Sthalekar 34, Brunt 5-47) and 232 (Nitschke 88*, K. Blackwell 72, Brunt 4-64, Gunn 2-35) lost to England 289 (Brunt 52, Taylor 43, Liddell 4-57, Fitzpatrick 3-90) and 4/75 by six wickets