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Lisa Sthalekar


England deny Stars consolation win

01 September 2013

England regained the Women's Ashes in Southampton but that didn't stop them putting in a first class performance in Durham to deny Australia a consolation win.

Even though the inaugural Women's Ashes Series over a multi-format, point based system had been won by England after the last T20 International played at the Argeas Bowl, both teams only had one day to either celebrate the win or feel the pain of losing the Ashes. 

Having been on both sides of a series when the result has already been decided, it does sometimes make it difficult to get motivated for the final match. For the team on top you want to celebrate and enjoy the moment instead of turning around a day later to play another match, and if you are the team that has lost some tough battles and are emotionally exhausted you just want to go home.

But with both teams meeting again in January 2014 for the return Women's Ashes, there was still some battles that needed to be fought out during the last match even though it didn't necessarily change the outcome.

This time England won the toss and instead of making use of the road first, they decided to stick with a winning formula by putting the Southern Stars into bat.

Despite a new opening combination of Elyse Villani, who was playing her first match of the tour, and Healy walking to the crease, it was unfortunately the same outcome for the Stars, with Villani going for a duck in the first over of the match. 

England again made it difficult for the Australian batters to score runs during the first powerplay, restricting them to 1 for 23. Sensing that they had to up the run rate if they were going to give their bowlers a decent total to defend, Healy was run out by a sharp throw from Katherine Brunt for 10 off 23 balls.

Lanning was the only Australian to look comfortable at the crease, hitting four boundaries in her score of 32 and was the only top eight batter who scored over a run-a-ball, with a strike rate of 110. 

All of the English bowlers picked up a wicket (except for Holly Colvin) all proving difficult to get away, with Danielle Hazell again the key bowler, dismissing Alex Blackwell (4) - who celebrated her 30th birthday - and Ellyse Perry (0) in the same over.

The Stars couldn't get a partnership going and by the end of 20 overs they were only able to manage 7 for 91. 

For the second match in a row, the Southern Stars were able to pick up early wickets, this time with the new bowling partnership of Holly Ferling and Sarah Coyte. Coyte in front of her family, who for the first time were watching her abroad, was able to make the crucial breakthroughs of Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor in her first two overs.

Then it was Ferling's turn to ensure her bunny Charlotte Edwards was no longer occupying the crease, removing her in the second over to have England in a tricky position at 3 for 14. With only 91 runs on the board Australia was going to have to pick up regular wickets to have a shot at winning the final match of the Women's Ashes. 

It wasn't to be as newcomer Natalie Sciver and Southampton Player of the Match Lydia Greenway combined to seal victory for England in 17th over, winning by a convincing seven wickets.

The final margin of 12-4 to the hosts deserved a tight final match to display the high quality of cricket both sides have shown over the last four weeks. 

Stay tuned for my Ashes wrap up in the coming days as the dust settles on what has been a difficult tour for our reigning World Champions.

Southern Stars Correspondent, have left paradise, Lisa Sthalekar

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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