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Lisa Sthalekar


Stars surrender Ashes lead

24 August 2013

The second and crucial ODI clash of the Women's Ashes moved to the picturesque ground of Hove.

This was the first ground that I played a Test match for Australia in England and it was also Holly Colvin's debut Test ground in 2005. 

Despite it being a drawn Test in 2005, it saw the emergence of some Australian player nicknames, like the Don, for Shelley Nitschke as she looked and batted (81*) like him to save that match.

The Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars walked into this match leading the Women's Ashes series by two points after their get out of jail performance of the first ODI match at Lords, thanks largely to England making their run chase extremely difficult.

As the English captain, Charlotte Edwards stated after the match that "they played naive cricket." 

Therefore, this clash would always be crucial for England to regain some ascendancy in the series if they are to regain the Ashes.

The main question was whether either team would make any changes to their team from the previous ODI?

Looking at the line-ups I felt that both teams could have their batting orders swapped around a little to capitalise on the shorter format. 

From an English point of view it was good to see Knight (31) who scored a Test century just over a week ago and also scored over 800 runs for Berkshire open with Edwards (53) when she won the toss and elected to bat.

They put on a quick fire 43 run partnership off the first seven overs, a little different to the other day at Lord's which I believe cost them the game, whereas Knight really took it to the bowlers, as the Stars changed things up by opening with Osborne and Perry. 

It wasn't until Megan Schutt was brought into the attack that brought about the wicket, by removing Knight.

This only brought the danger pair of Edwards and Taylor (32) together and they looked comfortable at the crease by pilling on a 70 run partnership going at close to four runs per over.

It took Jessica Jonassen, the key destroyer at Lords, to make the vital breakthrough picking up both wickets within 15 runs of each other. 

At this point the Stars would of got a sniff of going through the English middle order, but the English change in their batting added strength to their line up.

Brindle who looked so out of her depth as an opener, showed us why her and Greenway can be two batters that frustrate their opposition - they adapt well to the situation before the and run hard between wickets. 

They both went close to a run a ball as they too reached the partnership of 70 plus. 

Sarah Coyte proved to be the party pooper to remove both just before they could reach their half century, but by then England had their tails up and were ready to deliver one last blow with Sciver, making her debut match against Australia. 

Sciver came in during the last few overs and struck an unbeaten 26 off 20 balls finding the boundary three times to help England post an impressive 6-256.

The pick of the Southern Stars bowler was Jonassen, 2-29 off 7 overs and I wonder why she didn't bowl her complete 10 overs. Coyte also picked up 2-55 with Schutt and Perry picking up the one wicket each.

With 250 on the board the Stars needed a good start in their innings, but they didn't get that with Brunt and Shrubsole removing both openers by the 4th over with no runs scored off the bat. Shrubsole went for a misery 1-27 and Brunt 2-36 off their 10 overs a piece.

Cameron, our big game player stood up today fighting against a revitalised English team to score an important 81 runs until Brunt bowled her before her maiden International hundred. Unfortunately for the Southern Stars our next best scorer was Jonassen coming in at number 9 to score an unbeaten 34 off the same amount of deliveries.

Looking at the Australian batting card there were 3 ducks and 3 run outs during their innings which doesn't boast well to the team performing well and as a consequence were bowled out in 49th over for 205.

Similar to my observation about the English batting line up, I still don't feel that the Aussies have the right balance in the order. For the first time in a long time they don't have the option of one of their top six batters being able to bowl 10 overs as was the case when Nitschke and myself were in the team, therefore this tour and possibly future tours they will search for that next all-rounder in Perry, Osborne and even Coyte.

With captain Jodie Fields coming in at four, I also feel that the stability in the middle order is lost a little with her moving up as she plays a good stabilising role late in the innings, to allow more explosive batters to play their game.

Now with the loss it will be interesting to see if the Southern Stars bring in either Healy or Villani, traditionally strong ODI players into the team, as they search for that balanced batting order.

This Ashes Series is now all tied up and with the next match again at Hove in two days time the 3rd ODI proves to be a crucial clash.

Southern Stars Correspondent, doing this whilst on holidays in the sun, Lisa Sthalekar

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.
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