England can retain the Women's Ashes by avoiding defeat in tomorrow's second one-day international, but they will have to do it without Katherine Brunt who has been ruled out of the game.
The star bowler played a key role in England winning the only Test of the series but missed the first ODI with a recurrence of a lower back injury.
England captain Charlotte Edwards told the media today that Brunt has failed to recover and will miss tomorrow's clash at the MCG.
"She won't be available tomorrow," said Edwards. "We are constantly monitoring her and seeing where she's at.
"Her back has flared up again. This has been an ongoing problem for Katherine for five years now. It's unfortunate it's flared up again but the one thing is she can recover quite quickly from it.
"The great thing is we have a good pool of bowlers now. Although it's obviously disappointing for Katherine, it's a huge positive for us that we have replacements like Katherine Cross to come into the team."
Brunt's injury aside, Edwards was in buoyant mood ahead of tomorrow's match, which could see England seal the Ashes with four matches the spare.
Already 8-0 ahead in the new format, England will take an unassailable lead should they avoid losing under the lights in Melbourne.
Edwards, however, insists England are ignoring the bigger picture of retaining the Ashes.
— England Cricket (@ECB_cricket) January 22, 2014
"I'd have taken this at the start of the series," said Edwards.
"To be going into the second ODI 8-0 up with the chance to win tomorrow is fantastic. We are firmly focused on tomorrow.
"We have a good management team who are keeping our feet firmly on the floor. We've come out here to win every game and to win tomorrow is another step towards that. We have to forget about the bigger picture - it's about beating Australia at the MCG."