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England one step from Ashes glory

England Women are one victory away from retaining the Ashes after a seven-wicket win in the first one-day international at the MCG.

Unbeaten half-centuries from Lydia Greenway and Arran Brindle saw the tourists chase down Australia’s 209 for three with 19 balls to spare in Melbourne.

And having won the sole Test of the series at the WACA, England now need to take only one of the remaining two ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals to keep the urn.

The hosts won the toss and Alex Blackwell’s unbeaten 82 was the foundation of their total.

The tourists were missing Katherine Brunt through a lower-back injury but Anya Shrubsole and Kate Cross produced an economic early spell, and Shrubsole was rewarded with the wicket of Elyse Villani in the seventh over.

Jenny Gunn then had Meg Lanning caught by Heather Knight for 13 as the home side were reduced to 33 for two in the 11th.

Arran Brindle and Lydia Greenway celebrate taking England to the brink of Ashes glory as their respective fifties denied Australia again

Blackwell and Jess Cameron rebuilt with a stand of 35 – hitting 22 off Danni Wyatt’s two overs before the spinner had the latter caught by a diving Shrubsole for 21.

After a pair in the Test, Blackwell faced a nervous wait to get off the mark but once she and Ellyse Perry got going they were able to rotate the strike well, before plundering 52 off the last five overs.

Captain Charlotte Edwards dominated an opening stand of 50 with Knight until the latter was caught in the gully for nine off Julie Hunter, playing alongside Alyssa Healy after both were added to the home squad.

Sarah Taylor went for nine after chipping Erin Osbourne tamely to mid-on, and when Edwards fell to Holly Ferling for 41 England were 68 for three – the same score Australia had been reduced to in their innings.

The tourists had got there six overs earlier, however, and Greenway and Brindle ran well between the wickets to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

With 85 needed from the last 16 overs, Greenway unfurled several trademark sweeps in her 69 and Brindle also found the boundary on a regular basis to finish on 64 as England comfortably got over the line.

Click here for images of England's win.

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