Match Report | Australia vs England | Ashes 1st ODI | Australia retain the Ashes in a low-scoring thriller
Written By: Ritwika Dhar
Picture Courtesy: Getty Images
After the T20Is and one-off test ended in a draw, Australia and England locked horns for the first time in the ODI series. It was a must-win game for England to stay in contention of regaining the Ashes and Australia were one win away from retaining it. England won the toss and captain Heather Knight invited Australia to bat first.
Leg-spinner Alana King made ODI debut in this match after donning the T20I cap and Test cap for Australia for the very first time in this Ashes. And Megan Schutt was fielded by Australia after she missed out the only test.
Mooney showed character amidst the uncharacteristic batting of the Aussies
Opening batter Rachael Haynes was struggling to rotate the strike at the beginning of the innings. In the 4th over, she couldn’t control a short ball from Anya Shrubsole and mistimed it. Amy Jones made no mistake in gloving it and England got their first breakthrough which brought Meg Lanning onto the crease. Australia were 13 for 1 in 4 overs with Healy and Lanning starting to rebuild the innings after the opening blow.
Australia were moving at a sedate pace and after 16 overs they were 53/1. Meanwhile, Meg Lanning reached another career milestone of 4000 ODI runs. She became the 2nd fastest player (in 89 inns) after Belinda Clark (in 86 inns) and faced the fewest balls (4,308) to reach this feat. She also became 4th Australian player and 5th amongst current players to score 4000+ runs in Women’s ODIs.
Immediately after the drinks break, Kate Cross got the prized wicket of Lanning. She completely missed the line of Cross’ delivery and the ball got through the big gap between the bat and pad to rattle the stumps. In the next over, Ecclestone caught and bowled Perry for a golden duck and all of a sudden Australia were reduced to 61 for 3. Cross was in no mood to stop the carnage and took another wicket in the form of Healy. Jones’ lightning glovework ensured the wicket of Healy.
McGrath joined Mooney to stitch a big partnership. Both the batters were pacing the innings very cautiously. In the 31st when Shrubsole came back to bowl her 2nd spell, Mooney broke the shackles and tonked the 1st six of the innings. From 69-4, they took the innings to 125 before McGrath was dismissed by Brunt. Like the other Aussie batters, she too couldn’t negate the inswing and got bowled. Australia then lost Gardner (12 off 14) and Jonassen (4 off 10) to be reduced to 152-7. They still had 10 overs to go and were far away from a respectable total.
Debutant Alana King joined Mooney in the middle and did the job that was required of her at that time. She held one end firmly and gave most of the strike to Mooney, in the 43rd over, Mooney brought up first ODI half-century against England. This was her 3rd consecutive 50+ score in ODIs since her famous 125* vs. India.
Slow, but steadily these batters carried the innings beyond 200-mark and brought up the 50-runs partnership in the final over. In the last over, Brunt dismissed King and Mooney to restrict Australia’s total to 205 for 9.
Brunt and Cross took 3 wickets each and Mooney top-scored in this innings with her 73 (91).
Australia’s all-round bowling seal the deal
Aussies needed something special to defend this low total against a side who had all the eleven players with a good batting ability. 18-years old Darcie Brown put her hand up. She gave the first breakthrough to Australia. In the 4th over, she pitched the ball up and got it to swing away to take the edge from Beaumont’s bat and went straight to Lanning’s hand at the first slip. On the next ball, she trapped England skipper Knight LBW who bagged a golden duck. England got reduced to 10-2 in 3.4 overs and from there Australia never let them settle.
Megan Schutt came back into this side after missing the Test match and came back in style. She took Winfield-Hill’s wicket to bag her 100th scalp in ODIs. She also became the 2nd fastest (in 66 inns) to reach this milestone just after Australian fast-bowling legend Cathryn Fitzpatrick (in 64 inns). Meanwhile, Beth Mooney had come off the ground with quad tightness and didn’t play further in the game.
Amy Jones and Nat Sciver had a huge task ahead to bring the derailed innings back on track. They put up a 35-runs partnership before a controversial no-ball decision on the last ball of the 19th over brought the curtains down on Jones’ innings. She slogged a high full-toss to deep square and Perry settled underneath to take the catch. The decision sparked some debate as a decision had marred the Australia-India ODI where.
McGrath then dismissed Dunkley LBW. Wyatt joined Sciver in the middle. They made a partnership of 31 before Brown struck again to dismiss Sciver on 45. She got a leading edge and Brown dived in front to take a brilliant catch in her follow-through. She took her 4th wicket in Ecclestone and completed her 2nd 4 wicket-haul of her career.
Brunt and Cross showed some resistance and played with positive intent. Aussies gave them several chances as they put down a couple of catches. But, on the last ball of the 45th over, Jonassen finally took the last wicket and Australia won by 27 runs to retain the Ashes.
Beth Mooney won the Player of the Match for her brilliant 73 (91).
Australia – 205/9 (50) B. Mooney 73 (91), T. McGrath 29 (48); K. Cross 3/33 (10), K. Brunt 3/40 (10)
England – 178 (45) N. Sciver 45 (66), K. Brunt 32 (46); D. Brown 4/34 (10), T. McGrath 2/34 (10)