Brunt bowls England to series victory
Katherine Brunt took a career-best 5-18 as England women beat Australia by 34 runs to win a tense NatWest Quadrangular Series final at Wormsley, retaining their status as top-ranked one-day side.
After England posted 230 for eight, Brunt destroyed the Australia top order with a spell of top-class pace bowling - including two in successive deliveries in the first over - that left the tourists in trouble at 33 for three.
Teen star Lanning went first, prodding outside off stump to give Heather Knight a catch at first slip, then Poulton who received a vicious bouncer first ball which caught the shoulder of her bat and looped to Claire Taylor at gully.
The Yorkshire seamer was soon celebrating a third wicket - complete with the sprinkler - when Shelley Nitschke, playing her last game for Australia, dragged on attempting a wild drive.
But it was her second spell that proved just as crucial after Australia hauled themselves back into contention at 159 for six.
Jess Cameron was chiefly responsible for the turnaround with 75 at almost a run a ball but, attempting her third six of the innings, hooked Brunt down Isa Guha's throat at fine-leg.
Brunt completed her fifth one-day 'five-for' when Sarah Coyte slapped a square-cut straight at Arran Brindle at point.
Australia were eventually bowled out for 196 which included a wicket for Isa Guha - her 100th in one-day internationals.
“I’m so pleased I was able to contribute to the team’s success today to pick up my best figures is a bonus,” said player of the match Brunt. “It was a great effort by all the girls and were rewarded with the win.”
Earlier in the day, Lydia Greenway scored a fighting half-century as England recovered from 19 for two.
Inserted after losing the toss, England quickly lost Danielle Wyatt and Laura Marsh, castled attempting an ambitious drive and lbw respectively, to the impressive Coyte who made good use of the bowler-friendly conditions.
Captain Charlotte Edwards, who looked in fine form, and Claire Taylor slowly repaired the damage until the former was pinned in front for 31 by off-spinner Lisa Sthalaker.
Taylor made one less than her captain before she cut uppishly at Nitschke and was caught at point, a wicket that left England precariously poised at 88 for four in the 28th over.
As she did in the Twenty20 final victory at the Rose Bowl against the same opposition, Greenway counter-attacked to haul England into an unlikely position of authority.
Mixing sweeps with powerful drives down the ground - she launched the only six of the innings over long-on - Greenway put on 82 for the fifth wicket with Sarah Taylor as the tide began to turn.
The elegant Taylor played her part too, stroking 43 in quick time to give the appreciative crowd a further reminder of her unquestionable talent.
Greenway eventually departed for 58 - lbw to Coyte, who finished with 4-39 - but Brindle ensured England maintained their momentum with a rapid 27 from just 18 balls.
“I’m really proud of the team for their performance today and throughout the series,” said Edwards, whose side remain officially the best in the world.
“We’ve worked hard and seen contributions throughout the team and once again raised our game in an important final.
“It’s been a great summer series and fantastic to play again the top teams in the world. I’m delighted with what we have achieved and to retain our number-one status means everything to me.”