Australia resumed on 57/5, still needing 128 runs to win, with Sarah Elliott (5*) and Ellyse Perry (1*). England chose to open with yesterday’s destroyer Kate Cross, who bowled an uneventful over to Sarah Elliott, with four runs scored. At the other end skipper Edwards threw the ball to Katherine Brunt, rather than the more accurate and penetrating Anya Shrubsole. Perry climbed into Brunt’s full first ball and blasted it through the covers and clipped the next through midwicket for four more. Two more off a high full-toss and a single off the last ball meant the Australians had 11 off the over. When Cross’s next over went for nine as she too overpitched the alarm bells were beginning to ring in the England camp.
Jenny Gunn immediately replaced Brunt, but by this time Perry was in the mood and slashed her first ball for four, before adding a two and a final ball single. The Aussies had raced to 88/5. In the next over Cross again overpitched and Perry drove her for yet another boundary. It was time for Shrubsole. As soon as she came on England appeared to be back in control. She produced a couple of hooping inswingers and then beat Elliott all-ends up outside the off-stump with two successive deliveries. Gunn then took over from Cross and suddenly life was much more difficult for the Aussies.
It was no great surprise when Shrubsole made the vital breakthrough. A full inswinging ball was clipped nicely by Perry off her legs, but straight to Jenny Gunn at square leg, who collapsed over backwards as she clung on to the vital catch. Perry (31) could not quite believe it. While she was at the crease the Aussies still believed, but as soon as she went it seemed that it was just a matter of time. And so it proved. The shift from 99/5 to 99/6 was a significant one.
Erin Osborne, who had batted so well in the first innings, came and went to Shrubsole without troubling the scorers and not long after Sarah Coyte (8) was lbw to Gunn. Rene Farrell (0) drove over the top of another inswinger from Shrubsole, and the Aussies had been reduced to 109/9. Holly Ferling could have been out to either of her first two balls from Shrubsole, but she survived with a resolute smile on her face. It was Elliott’s cue to finally unleash some shots, whilst also trying to retain the strike. She hit a couple of lusty blows but that signalled the return of Brunt, who finally wrapped things up for England when she bowled Elliott (29 off 115 balls) with a full ball. The Southern Stars had been bowled out for 123.
Kate Cross finished with 3/35 and Anya Shrubsole 3/48, with Jenny Gunn and Katherine Brunt taking two wickets apiece. Ellyse Perry who took 8/79 and scored 102 runs in the game was rightly named player of the match.
The Series now moves on to the 50 over ODI format with two games in Melbourne and one in Hobart, before three T20Is. England need to win just two of those games to retain the Ashes. Having won five games on the bounce in the corresponding fixture here in England last year they will be taking nothing for granted, but they have taken a huge stride towards that ultimate goal.