ENGLAND cruised to a six-wicket victory over old foes Australia in the women’s Test at Bowral today, with Claire Taylor finishing undefeated on 64 to complement Isa Guha’s splendid nine wickets in the match.
England, in the driving seat after a first-innings lead of 90, halted Australia’s fightback by taking wickets in the final morning, including Lisa Sthalekar two runs short of her second Test hundred, caught by Guha in the covers off Beth Morgan. Karen Rolton declared at 231-9 in an attempt to force the win required to win back the Ashes in the one-match series.
With a victory target of 142 off 59 overs, England might well have won without the despairing declaration, the end coming with 2.3 overs remaining. Caroline Atkins was lbw early to Elysse Perry, perhaps the quickest woman bowler in the world these days, but Morgan and Taylor added 49 for the second wicket to push England through to 61 before Morgan was caught. Lydia Greenway hit 26 off 31 balls to regain momentum, and Taylor ensured the job was finished, completing a good match after her first-innings 79.
As captain, Charlotte Edwards probably did most to settle an advantage with her first innings of 94 in a stand of 159 with Taylor, though Guha deservedly took the player of the match award. After the game Charlotte Edwards said: “I’m delighted -- almost lost for words. To beat Australia in Australia is a fantastic feeling. We had always said we would come out here and aim to win this match in order to retain the Ashes and that’s what we did today.
“I’m so proud of all my players. We have played some fantastic cricket over these past four days to continually have the upper hand over Australia and to pull through and secure victory today was a great effort. We’ll celebrate tonight, but then turn our attentions to New Zealand for the one-day series over there, which starts on Sunday.”
Guha said: “It was brilliant to be playing at The Bradman Oval and it was an extra special win for us because we knew that people were saying we had only come out for the draw as that would have been enough to retain the Ashes. But we always knew that we were playing for a win and it’s great to be part of such a special occasion.”
Bradman Oval, Bowral
154 (81.5 overs; K Blackwell 45, I Guha 5-40) & 231-9 dec (93 overs; L Sthalekar 98, I Guha 4-60)
244 (140.4 overs; C Edwards 94, C Taylor 79) & 144-4 (56.3 overs; C Taylor 64*).
England won by 6 wickets