England suffer warm-up loss
Captain Charlotte Edwards’ valiant 72 could not stop England women from slipping to a 25-run defeat in the World Cup warm-up against hosts Australia.
Edwards was one of four wickets to fall for two runs as England fell short of their opponents’ 214 for eight in a 13-a-side, 50-over match at the New South Wales University ground in Randwick.
Alex Blackwell’s unbeaten 91 proved crucial for Australia whom Edwards asked to bat first on a good wicket with a quick outfield on a warm, sunny day.
England have one further official warm-up match, against West Indies on Wednesday, before their World Cup opener against Sri Lanka on Saturday in Canberra.
Katherine Brunt and Isa Guha helped England to a fine start. Guha had opener Shelley Nitschke caught behind by Sarah Taylor in the second over, while Brunt trapped Australia captain Karen Rolton lbw first ball to reduce the hosts to nine for two.
Blackwell and Lisa Sthalekar began to rebuild the innings but Nicky Shaw removed Sthalekar with a direct hit from fine leg to leave the hosts 37 for three.
Shaw was soon introduced to the attack and she and Brunt kept the bowling tight. The pressure told as Jodie Fields holed out to Caroline Atkins off spinner Laura Marsh
Leah Poulton made 24 before she was caught by a diving Jenny Gunn at mid-on off leg-spinner Holly Colvin. Jessica Cameron then succumbed to a Shaw slower ball to leave Australia 124 for six.
Edwards had an immediate impact with the ball, having Lauren Ebsary caught behind by Lauren Griffiths who had replaced Sarah Taylor behind the stumps after 25 overs.
Australia’s golden girl, Elysse Perry, added just eight before she was run out after a mix-up thanks to neat work by Colvin who threw to Shaw.
However, Rene Farrell and Blackwell added 55 for the eighth wicket to take Australia comfortably past 200.
England made the worst start to their reply when Sarah Taylor nicked to wicketkeeper Fields first ball off Emma Sampson.
Claire Taylor and Atkins steadied the ship, adding 49, before Atkins was run out by Perry for 18 having missed the call for a third run.
Taylor was caught and bowled by Erin Osbourne for 35 as England struggled at 70 for three, but Edwards and Lydia Greenway put on 65 before the latter was bowled by Nitschke for 23 as she aimed over the top.
Jenny Gunn came and went for eight, caught at midwicket by Sthalekar off Nitschke, but England were still well placed at 152 for five.
Beth Morgan was lbw to Perry, walking across her stumps, leaving Edwards's side needing 44 to win, with three wickets in hand.
Shaw blasted nine but was caught by Ebsary as she hit out at Sarah Andrews’ bowling and England suffered a hammer-blow as Edwards was lbw to Osbourne.
England’s innings came to an end with two run-outs. Colvin was short of her ground when non-striker Brunt sent her back and Brunt was last out in a mix-up with Isa Guha.
Edwards said: “We’re really disappointed. We played really good cricket for 90 overs of the game and in five overs we threw away all the good we had done; they didn’t win the game, we lost it.
“We’ve got to learn from our mistakes and we’ve got an opportunity in the next warm-up game to do this as we play the West Indies.”
Assistant coach Jack Birkenshaw added: “If we’re going to win this World Cup we need contributions from more than three batsmen. Everybody has to contribute.
“Today was an excellent opportunity for our middle-order batters to quietly win that match. Unfortunately on this occasion they did not have the patience to take us over the line and we fell 25 runs short.
”At one stage we were 150 for four and suddenly the last six wickets went for 30-odd runs. These batters need to stand up and be counted.
“As Lottie said, we have an opportunity to rectify this against West Indies on Wednesday and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”