By Rob Barnett
England suffered a two-wicket defeat to a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI at Melbourne’s Junction Oval in the tourists’ warm-up for the one-day leg of the Women’s Ashes.
On a sweltering day, Sarah Taylor’s 52 underpinned a reasonable score of 237 all out with three balls unused.
However, a trio wickets each for Jenny Gunn and Danni Hazell could not prevent the hosts, playing in their different state kits, from completing victory with 13 deliveries to spare.
Despite the result, it was a useful experience for England who continue their defence of the Ashes at the MCG on Sunday in the first of three one-day internationals.
Charlotte Edwards’ side, who took six points for victory in the sole Test, need to win two of the ODIs and the three Twenty20 internationals that follow to keep hold of the urn.
Edwards today lost the toss and saw opening partner Heather Knight fall early to a super caught-and-bowled from the impressive Julie Hunter.
Number three Taylor and Edwards added 77 until the captain, looking in fine touch, departed for 39 to leg-spinner Kristen Beams.
Shortly after raising her fifty, Taylor went to off-spinner Molly Strano. The economical Beams soon accounted for Danni Wyatt to leave the tourists 116 for four in the 29th over.
Lydia Greenway and Natalie Sciver rebuilt with an alliance worth 75. Greenway retired out on 44 just before Sciver, who hit a massive straight six, was lbw to Jess Jonassen for 42.
Two more scalps for Hunter, who returned 3-30 from 10 overs, and two run-outs saw England’s tail fall away.
In contrast, the Chairman’s XI enjoyed a flying start to their innings as Nicole Bolton dominated an opening stand of 48.
A sharp run-out from Sciver, who did well to pick up one-handed at midwicket, ousted Rachael Haynes before Alyssa Healy hit some lovely shots for her 29.
Hazell had Bolton caught behind for 46 and fellow off-spinner Wyatt removed Healy ahead of Gunn downing Emma Inglis.
From 127 for four in the 25th over, Jonassen and Sarah Elliott launched a recovery until the outstanding Hazell sent them packing in consecutive balls, the former for 52.
Yet two more strikes from Gunn were not enough as Kelly Applebee’s unbeaten 29 ensured victory for the hosts.
Taylor said: “We probably didn’t bowl in the areas that we [would have] liked but .... I think we did pretty well in that heat. Overall I think we’re pretty pleased that everyone got a bowl and most people got a bat that haven’t done in the past two weeks. It’s been a good day.
“When I went out to the middle and spoke to Lot [Edwards], I said to her ‘I just want to spend time out here, feel bat on ball’ and she said ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what you need to do’. I did that and it was nice to get some runs under my belt.”
Follow the Women's Ashes ball-by-ball via the following media:
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