Taylor ton sets the tone

Sarah Taylor

Sarah Taylor celebrates reaching three figures in an innings that underpinned Englands 259 for six against Australia

Sarah Taylor hit a stunning century to power England women to a second victory in as many days over Australia in the NatWest Series.

The 20-year-old underlined her status as one of the finest batsmen in the women’s game with a typically stylish run-a-ball 120 as England amassed 259 for six at Chelmsford.

Though Australia improved considerably on their miserable 133 in the opening match yesterday, they never threatened England’s total, once again failing to use their full allocation of overs as they were bowled out for 204 en route to a 55-run defeat which leaves them trailing 2-0 in the five-match series.

Taylor’s innings, her third one-day international hundred, thrilled an appreciative crowd at a sun-drenched County Ground, although of equal importance were her stands of 95 and 86 for the second and third wicket with Claire Taylor and Beth Morgan, who made 42 and 41 respectively.

Taylor, who hit 68 yesterday, batted fluently throughout, bringing up her fifty off 55 balls and her hundred off 112, having hit eight fours.

She struck four further boundaries before she was run out attempting to pinch a single to wicketkeeper Jodie Fields, and left the field to a standing ovation.

Ebony Rainsford-Brent contributed a rapid unbeaten 30 late on, before England’s bowlers got to work.

Nicky Shaw, captaining the side again in the continued absence of Charlotte Edwards, removed the dangerous Lisa Sthalekar for 43 and claimed two of the last three wickets to fall to finish with figures of 3-39.

Laura Marsh also played a crucial role with the ball - her 10 overs yielded 3-33 and included the wicket of Shelley Nitschke for 42, ending an ominous second-wicket partnership of 85 with Sthalekar.

Though captain Karen Rolton made 32 and Lauren Ebsary contributed 38 off 42 deliveries to keep Australia’s hopes alive, the outcome was rarely in doubt.