England will be kicking themselves that they didn't wrap up the Ashes Series at the MCG today. The game was there for them to win, but they just had a very bad day in the field. It happens. Who knows what might have happened if they had removed Nicole Bolton in the first six overs as they should have done?
And speaking of Miss Bolton, where has she been up until now? She has had a great WNCL for Western Fury (averaging over 60) and did well in both the warm-up games. It was madness not to play her in the Test Match given that the Aussies were in desperate need of an opener, and both she and Villani should be playing now in the ODIs. The Aussie batting looks very thin with Ellyse Perry coming in at 5. Well it was better late than never by the Aussie selectors, but you have to think that she might not be quite so lucky in her next match. And England need to target her just outside off. She likes to drive without any great foot movement - slip catching practice needed.
Meanwhile poor Meg Lanning does not look like she can score a run at the moment. I don't think it is the weight of captaincy or people's expectations on her shoulders. It is just something that happens in cricket. She will snap out of it sometime, but I am not sure it will be in this series.
Jess Cameron got a few runs under her belt, but did not look her fluent self. True she did manage a couple of reverse sweeps, which shows her confidence might be returning, but she is the sort of batsman that you always think you have a chance of getting out.
Alex Blackwell has come back magnificently from her pair in the Test Match. She has hit 82* and 55 in the two ODIs and looks comfortable with bat in hand. She is a prize wicket now.
Ellyse Perry got a first ball blob in this second ODI, but has been a thorn in England's side with both bat and ball in hand. However I think her influence is beginning to wain. She looks a little tired, or possibly even slightly injured to me. She was definitely unimpressed and rather rattled by the two ramp shots that Nat Sciver played off her in the dying overs of this game.
England's bowling attack started and finished quite badly. I thought Kate Cross and Nat Sciver got things back together in the middle overs, and again from 42 onwards, but Lotte let things slip by taking them off. The last 5 overs went for 46 runs. And even Lottie seems to have lost any confidence in off-spinner Dani Wyatt, who again bowled too many poor deliveries. She fields well but now offers very little else to the team.
With a bit more composure England could have got a lot closer to the Aussie target. Heather Knight batted well to get to her fifty, but then lost the plot and tried to smash everything. When she failed she got frustrated and got herself out. It was great to see Sarah Taylor back in the runs, but disappointing to see her run herself out. She needs to believe in her own abilities more and cut out the risky singles. It was the 8th time that she has been run out in 80 ODI knocks - not a huge percentage granted, but generally it is an unnecessary way to get yourself out.
And the rest of the England batting line-up need to believe in Nat Sciver. In the last five overs of the England innings she showed that, if she had had the right support, she could have got England home. She had got the equation to just 29 off the last four overs, almost single-handedly. She looks comfortable at the crease and knows her own abilities and limitations. She has a long future in this England side although she will be working hard at her catching over the next couple of days.
So it is off to Tasmania for Sunday's ODI and the first of the T20Is on Wednesday. England still need just one win. The Aussies cannot afford a slip up. If the England Men's warm-up game is anything to go by then it will be the batsmen that decide the games here. England won't bowl and field that badly again and I back them to win at least one of the two games at the Bellerive Oval, also known as the Blundstone Arena. If they don't the score will be back to 8-6 and it will be squeaky bum time for all concerned.
Set your alarms for 2am on Sunday morning and watch the ODI via livestream on the ECB website - http://www.ecb.co.uk/news/womens/womens-ashes-live-stream. It will be worth it.