The Australian Women’s cricket team have retained the Ashes after winning the first of three one-day internationals against England on Thursday night at Manuka Oval, Canberra, with bowler Darcie Brown instrumental in England’s demise.
The young speedster took 4-34 in the low scoring match which saw Australia defending a total of just 205 to get the job done, Cricket Australia reported.
Australia, who have held the ashes since 2015, now lead England 8-4 in the multi-format series, and with only two games to play, the ashes will remain in Australia.
With Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy at the crease first for Australia, it was 0-13 when England struck, Haynes mishitting a pull shot straight up in the air, which wicketkeeper Amy Jones caught easily.
Meg Lanning joined Healy to establish a solid partnership including several boundaries, but when on 28, Lanning was bowled by Kate Cross, bringing Australia to 2-60.
Just one run later, Ellyse Perry was out for a duck, caught and bowled by Sophie Ecclestone, soon after which clever work from wicketkeeper Jones saw Healy stumped for 27, Australia now 4-67.
Beth Mooney and Tahlia McGrath were firing, both scoring multiple boundaries including a six from Mooney.
However, on 29, McGrath’s off-stump was knocked out of the ground by a Katherine Brunt delivery, taking the score to 5-125.
The next to fall was Ashleigh Gardner, who hesitated and run out during an attempted single, followed by Jessica Jonassen, caught for 4.
Meanwhile, Mooney continued to dominate with the bat, hitting some lovely drives and scoring her first one-day international half-century against England.
With Alana King falling for 18 and Mooney superbly caught by Winfield-Hill soon after, Australia reached a total of 9-205 off their 50 overs, Mooney top-scoring with 73.
When England went in to bat, bowler Darcie Brown struck early, with Tammy Beaumont caught at slip in the fourth over and Heather Knight out leg before wicket (lbw) on the very next ball, leaving England 2-10.
Brown came close to getting a hat trick, but England’s Nat Sciver managed to pull her bat away just in time to avoid catching an outside edge.
England then put on a good partnership of around 60 runs until Brown struck again with Lauren Windfield-Hill caught by Ashleigh Gardner off a pull shot, England now 3-74.
Another pull shot by Amy Jones off a full toss by Tahlia McGrath found the safe hands of Ellyse Perry, taking England to 4-74.
The next to fall when England was on 85 was Sophia Dunkley, caught plumb lbw by McGrath.
At 5-103, Nat Sciver, now on 45, popped a shot up in front of her which Brown dived full length to catch, putting England on the ropes at 6-103.
When England was on 7-143, Brown struck again, taking Sophie Ecclestone lbw for 3 and bringing Brown’s wicket haul to 4.
Jess Jonassen cleaned up the tail, bowling Anya Shrubsole and taking Kate Cross caught and bowled to finish England and the match.
England was all out for 178 off 45 overs, and along with Brown’s bowling figures of 4/34, Jessica Jonassen, Megan Schutt, and Tahlia McGrath each took 2 wickets.
Australian Captain Meg Lanning said it was a good feeling to complete step one of the series, which was to retain the ashes.
“I think if we’d allowed England to get some momentum in the series, it could have gone any way, but to be able to take a bit of pressure with the bat, push through, and then to come back and really dominate with the ball there I think really impressive,” she said.
Lanning said it was exciting to watch Darcie Brown in such good form.
“We know that she’s a wicket-taker for us, she can change the game, and that’s how we’ll use her,” she said.
“She’s obviously going to play a massive role for us in this series and moving forward, too.”
The two teams will play two more one-day internationals as part of the series, on Feb.6 and Feb.8, both at Junction Oval in Melbourne.