03 Feb 2011
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England women suffer Ashes defeat against Australia
25 January 11 07:24 GMT
Debutant Sarah Elliott scored a solid 81 not out to steer Australia's women to a seven-wicket victory over England in their one-off Ashes Test in Sydney.
The 29-year-old faced 262 balls and put on 125 for the third wicket with Alex Blackwell (74) as the hosts won back the Ashes they relinquished in 2005.
Resuming on 29-1 and chasing a total of 198 for victory, Australia added only 48 runs in a turgid morning session.
But Blackwell upped the pace after lunch and Elliott hit the winning run.
England had been in the ascendancy for much of the opening three days at the Bankstown Oval until player of the match Rene Farrell bowled the Australians into contention with a hat-trick in figures of 5-23 as the tourists were dismissed for 149 late on the third day.
And the hosts, who had only scored 159 in their first innings, put on a more disciplined batting display second time round with Elliott stroking only one boundary in her marathon knock.
Shelley Nitschke, who began the final day 12 not out, added eight more runs in 52 deliveries before she was adjudged leg before wicket to Isa Guha before lunch to leave the Australians 54-2, still 144 from victory.
But Elliott and captain Blackwell dug in and although England skipper Charlotte Edwards used eight bowlers, the tourists could not break the pair's stubborn resistance.
Katherine Brunt finally made the breakthrough shortly after tea with the second new ball, trapping Blackwell leg before wicket but by then Australia had progressed to 179-3.
Fittingly, it was Elliott who scored the winning run, glancing the ball to fine leg for a single as the Aussies finished on the match on 198-3.
Following the defeat, Edwards said: "Obviously I'm absolutely gutted to hand over the Ashes. Our bowlers did a fantastic job but unfortunately we didn't put enough runs on the board. We would have liked to make it a bigger chase.
"I'm proud of how the team have backed each other and really fought to the end. We've had a relatively inexperienced side out here and for many of them this was their first Test match.
"We have had a few setbacks early on this tour but the team have really come together and players have stood up to the mark and we showed this in the Twenty20 series."
Opposite number Blackwell said: "It's just a great feeling to bring the Ashes home again and I am so proud of the team. It's been a great four days and we'll all remember this for a long time.
"I was part of the team that lost the Ashes back in 2005 for the first time in 40 years so to be captain of this team and win them back again is a great feeling and a tremendous honour.
"England has played well all series and this match could easily have gone either way but I'm very proud of the team for the way they went about it."
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