The Ashes is back and this time the urn is in England. The defending champions Australia will look to retain their might over the Ashes while the hosts England will look for redemption. Unlike the men’s Ashes, women’s Ashes will be a composition of three ODIs, one test and three T20s. The winner of the Ashes will be judged on the basis of points each team earns during the series.
The first ODI was played on Tuesday at Leicester when the visiting Australians got the better of England in a nail biting finish. Batting first, England were bundled out for a paltry 177 in 46.5 overs, courtesy a brilliant bowling performance from the Aussies. Ellyse Perry spearheaded the bowling attack and ripped apart the English line-up as she finished off with figures of 3-43 in her seven overs. Perry found able allies in Megan Schutt, Jess Jonassen, and Ashleigh Gardner, each of them accounting for two scalps. England got off to a horrendous start as they were found wanting at 19-4 in 5.1 overs. Natalie Sciver (64) batted like a champion and stitched couple of good partnerships with Fran Wilson (15) and Katherine Brunt (20) to help her side put up a decent total on board.
Chasing an ordinary score of 178 should not have been a tough ask for the powerful batters of Australia. However, England after a horrific batting performance came out all guns blazing to put the visitors in all spots of bother. Opening bat Nicole Bolton (2) was sent back to the pavilion by Anya Shrubsole, and the Aussies kept losing wickets at the regular intervals. Wicket-keeper Alyssa Healy stood like a rock and played well for her 71-ball 66. Healy kept losing wickets at the other end. The match went all the way down the wire as Australia somehow managed to sneak in a victory by two wickets. Sophie Ecclestone was the pick of the bowlers for England as she grabbed 3-34 in her 10 overs.
Ellyse Perry was awarded with the Player of the Match for her outstanding bowling performance. The two sides meet on Thursday at the same venue for the second ODI. After the first ODI, Australia leads the points table 2-0.
Brief Scores: England 177 all out in 46.5 overs (N Sciver 64, E Perry 3-43) lost to Australia 178-8 in 42.3 overs (A Healy 66, S Ecclestone 3-34) by 2 wickets
Juili Ballal (Cricket Journalist)
(Julie is a women’s cricketer who has represented Mumbai Team, she is also an IIT’ian)