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Australia v England at Sydney
29 Jan 2000 (Rick Eyre)

Keightley dominates as Australia much too good

The Australian women's team demonstrated today the wide gap in ability between themselves and their English counterparts with a comprehensive 86 run win in the first match of their four one-day international series at the Sydney Cricket Ground today. Australian opener Lisa Keightley scored 127 not out to complete her second consecutive one-day hundred against England.

Keightley, whose 113 not out against England in July 1998 was the first hundred by a woman at Lord's, dominated the Australian innings of 7/241 today. She has now scored 240 runs in her last two innings against England without being dismissed, having batted through the entire fifty overs on both occasions.

England began their run chase slugglishly and never at any stage regained lost ground, finishing their fifty overs on 7/155.

Australia got off to a strong start today after Belinda Clark won the toss and elected to bat first. Opening pair Clark and Keightley, who have so often built large opening stands together for New South Wales and Balmain, made a solid start against the England pace attack of Lucy Pearson and Clare Taylor. A double bowling change to bring on Laura Newton and Melissa Reynard relieved what little pressure there was and saw the Australians go right on the offensive. Seven overs by the two bowlers went for 68 runs, Australia racing from 50 to 100 in just 26 deliveries.

The opening partnership of 123 came to end when Clark, backing up at the bowler's end, was caught out of her ground by a brilliant direct hit return throw from mid-off. Clark made 47 from 58 deliveries including nine fours.

Western Australian all-rounder Cherie Bambury joined Keightley at the crease, but it was the New South Wales opener who continued to dominate the England attack, despite a further double bowling change to the slow left-arm pair of Clare Connor and Dawn Holden. Keightley's fifty came up in 56 balls (63 minutes, ten fours) and from there she just began to accelerate into her eighties.

Bambury (13) was the second Australian wicket to fall. A rank full-toss from Holden was slogged to deep mid-wicket by the left-handed batsman, but straight into the waiting hands of Clare Taylor just inside the boundary rope. Australia at this point were 2/162 and Holden had taken her first international wicket from one of her worst deliveries of the day.

Keightley slowed down in her nineties as the spin duo of Connor and Newton gained their rhythm. She brought up her third ODI hundred in the 35th over of the day, taking a single from Clare Taylor, taking 115 balls and seventeen boundaries to reach the milestone.

A slight middle-order collapse began for Australia when Karen Rolton (11) fell to Clare Taylor when she got a thick edge to wicketkeeper Jane Cassar. Melissa Reynard came back into the attack after the completion of Holden's stint and struck with the first delivery of her new spell, Martha Winch (2) getting a bottom edge to the waiting gloves of Cassar.

Reynard, showing much more control than in her first spell, claimed her second wicket when Cathryn Fitzpatrick (2) played a poor shot slogging to mid-wicket but straight to Barbara Daniels. Julia Price (9) fell to Laura Newton when she top-edged a pull shot to Clare Taylor at backward square. Therese McGregor (18) became Cassar's third dismissal of the day in the final over, stumped off the bowling of Connor.

The final Australian total of 7/241 in fact represented a good recovery by England after a score in the order of 280 appeared in the cards for a while. Nineteen year-old Dawn Holden made a promising debut, containing the batsmen well in her later overs, gaining good flight and turn. At the completion of her unchanged ten-over spell she took 1/41. Reynard took 2/41 from seven overs, the second spell of the left-armer being a complete contrast to her first. Clare Taylor, with 1/27 from her ten, was the most economical of the England bowlers.

If there were any hope that England would make a serious pursuit of 242, it evaporated almost immediately as the run rate crawled along. The England openers were contained by the Australian new-ball pair of Therese McGregor and Cathryn Fitzpatrick, though Fitzpatrick's economy can be put down in part to her difficulty in bowling straight - of the ten runs she conceded from her five-over spell, four were wides and two were no-balls.

Clare Connor was taking runs at a reasonable pace, though not one that looked likely to set up a total to challenge 241. England captain Karen Smithies, however, was very unimpressive in her 37-ball stay at the crease, in which she made one scoring shot which went for two. Before she got off the mark she was bowled off a Fitzpatrick no-ball. Smithies' painful innings finally came to an end when she edged McGregor to Lisa Keightley at first slip.

Connor (26 from 53 deliveries) lost her off stump when attempting a pull shot off Avril Fahey, and then two wickets fell within the space of three balls with the total on 69. Barbara Daniels (19) was run out at the non-striker's end by a direct hit from Charmaine Mason. Clare Taylor, elevated to number five in a surprise move, was out second ball without scoring, stumped by Julia Price to become medium-pacer Clea Smith's first wicket for Australia.

Edwards played some superb shots to the boundary, especially in the region of cover/mid-off, and with Kathryn Leng added 63 for the fifth wicket before Leng (23) was run out following a fine outfield return by Cherie Bambury. Edwards had played a fine innings for her 55, certainly the best of the England lineup, when she fell to a poor shot off a poor delivery - a Charmaine Mason full-toss lofted high in the air for an easy catch by Karen Rolton.

The match had degenerated into a formality long before England finished their innings at 7/155. At least once they reached 138 they could brag that they would not suffer a defeat as heavy as the men's 104 run loss against Zimbabwe overnight. The final humiliation came when Jane Cassar was run out at the non-striker's end on the final ball of the match when a return hit by Laura Newton deflected off bowler Mason's hand onto the stumps.

Few among the Australian bowlers could fail to impress against this opposition, though none took more than one wicket. Cathryn Fitzpatrick's 0/16 from ten overs would have looked more impressive without the four wides and three no-balls. Clea Smith's debut was worth 1/15 from seven overs.

The teams return to the SCG tomorrow for the second match in the series, after which they play on Tuesday at Bradman Oval, Bowral, and on Thursday at Newcastle. On today's display it is hard to picture anything but a 4-0 clean sweep.


Date-stamped : 29 Jan2000 - 06:22