England Academy took full advantage of a tired-looking Shooting Stars side, bowling them out for just 148 in less than 38 overs, and then knocking off the runs with just four wickets down with nearly 20 overs to spare.
The Stars had played a 50 over game yesterday against Sri Lanka which they had won quite comfortably, but with just a 13 player squad and the temperatures well above 30 degrees, and the humidity energy sapping, it was perhaps little wonder that they were no match for a very keen England squad with England-contracted player Kate Cross once again at the forefront.
Within six overs the Aussie innings was in disarray as Cross claimed three wickets whilst conceding just one run. Molineux was caught and bowled for a duck in her first over, McGrath bowled in her third and the much-touted Stalenberg picked up a golden duck as she edged through to Threlkeld. The England camp were cock-a-hoop. At the other end Beth Langston was bowling an impeccable line and length meaning there was just no release for the Aussie batsmen. Eventually Langston gave way to Macdonald and the Aussies unleashed a series of pulls and cuts to finally get the scoreboard moving. They just seemed to have the measure of the pitch when Graham walked too far across her stumps and was bowled by Alex Hartley. The Aussies were 67/4 in the 18th over. Not long after Hartley claimed her second as Gardner advanced down the pitch and missed and left Threlkeld with an easy stumping. This was followed by an unnecessary run out as skipper Banting and opener Patterson got their wires crossed. Banting was run out by about 15 yards - 76/6.
The seventh wicket pair added 35 but the reintroduction of Cross seemed to mesmerise Patterson, who had batted a long time for her 37. Third ball of the new Cross spell she guided a short ball straight into the hands of Jones at cover point. Her vigil was over and Cross had 4/12.
Alex Price and Lauren Smith then added an enterprising 31 with Price putting away the bad balls with some aplomb, but when Smith went bowled by a full ball from Langston, the end of the innings was nigh. Ecclestone removed Price in the next over caught behind cutting one too close to her and Langston bowled Hancock neck and crop in her next over.
In reply the England Academy could not really have had a better start. Emma Lamb (26) and Evelyn Jones (38) put on 70 for the first wicket, with Jones finding the boundary with quiet regularity during the opening powerplay and thereafter as the Aussies kept the field up in search of wickets. Both went with the score on 70 though with Lamb trying to force the pace and being stumped and Jones bowled by a good leg-break from Wellington. It was only a minor blip for England though. Fran Wilson made 20 and took her team to within 18 of victory before she drove a ball straight into extra cover's hands, but Georgia Adams (37*) and Sophie Luff (10*) quickly polished the game off as the Aussies wilted in the heat.
The Academy play the Aussies again on Friday when they can probably expect a tougher ride.
England batting (unofficial) - Lamb 26, Jones 38, Adams 37*, Wilson 20, Luff 10*
England bowling (unofficial) - Langston 6.1-3-13-2, Cross 8-1-18-4, Macdonald 3-0-26-0, Hartley 8-1-34-2, Ecclestone 8-0-30-1, Butler 4-0-22-0
Australia batting (unofficial) - Patterson 37, Molineux 0, McGrath 5, Stalenberg 0, Graham 31, Gardner 7, Banting 0, Price 30, Smith 18, Hancock 4, Wellington 2*
Australia bowling (unofficial) - Hancock 3-0-18-0, Brennan 5-0-20-0, Vakarewa 5-0-16-0, Wellington 6-0-33-1, Price 6-1-22-2, Smith 3.1-0-24-1, Stalenberg 3-0-14-0