England have finally had their first victory of the summer, winning the one-off women’s Ashes Test at the WACA Ground by 61 runs today.
The result means the English are in the box seat to retain the Ashes they won in the UK last August after claiming the six points on the line for the Test.
Australia must now win five of the six remaining one day and Twenty20 matches (worth two points each) to regain the urn.
The tourists secured the win by taking 5-66 this morning and dismissing the Australians for 123 before lunch after they were set a victory target of 185.
Anya Shrubsole was the key destroyer, taking three of the five wickets and worrying the batters from the moment she was brought into the attack in the eighth over of the day.
Australian all-rounder Ellyse Perry was named the player of the match with one of the great individual performances, taking eight wickets and scoring 102 two runs across the two innings.
Perry top scored for her country in both innings and took more wickets than any other player in the match.
But she couldn’t drag her side over the line after a second top order collapse in as many innings.
The home side resumed at 5-57, still 128 runs from the target of 185 with Perry (one) and Sarah Elliott (five) at the crease.
The Australians made a brilliant start to the chase, with Perry leading the scoring and Elliott playing a strong support role.
Elliott scored a boundary in the first over of the day off the bowling last night’s key wicket-taker Kathryn Cross, before Perry hit out in Katherine Brunt’s first over, scoring 11 off it and then matching that effort in Cross’ next over.
The 23-year-old continued her assault when medium pacer Jennifer Gunn was introduced as the pair moved the total to 94 within six overs.
England captain Charlotte Edwards introduced key quick Shrubsole soon after and the scoring dried with just five runs in the next six overs before Perry hit a pitched-up delivery straight to Gunn at square leg.
Perry’s departure for 31 ended a 44-run partnership with Elliott still 86 runs short of the target and was the beginning of the end for the run chase.
Erin Osborne lasted only four balls before she was caught at extra cover off the bowling of Shrubsole.
Sarah Coyte arrived at the crease with her side at 7-99 and tried to be positive, bringing up the Australian 100 off her first delivery.
Coyte moved to seven with a chancy single in the 16th over but was gone in the next over, trapped lbw by Gunn.
Strike bowler Rene Farrell never looked comfortable, surviving only five balls before she was bowled by Shrubsole.
That bought teenage quick Holly Ferling to the crease, who scored five runs off her first two deliveries, but looked far from assured.
Elliott decided to try and increase the run rate at the other end and while Ferling showed resistance to survive several probing Shrubsole deliveries, it was Elliott who was eventually bowled by Brunt, attempting to drive a yorker.