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Australia v England at Bowral
1 Feb 2000 (Rick Eyre)

Australia crush England to take 3-0 lead

The Australian Southern Stars national women's team have continued their dominance over England with a crushing ten-wicket victory at Bradman Oval, at Bowral, south-west of Sydney today. The win, completed with more than 25 overs to spare, gives Australia a 3-0 lead in the four-match series.

Australian captain Belinda Clark was named player of the match for a sparkling innings of 66 not out which demoralised an already outclassed England team.

In cool, overcast conditions Clark won the toss for Australia and put England into bat. Last Sunday's five-wicket hero Charmaine Mason struck twice in the space of three balls to remove Connor and Daniels (both 4) with just nine runs on the board. England's form batsman Charlotte Edwards had scored ten before losing her middle stump when beaten for pace by Cathryn Fitzpatrick, who is much faster than any other bowler in this series.

England has reached 3/44 by the end of the fifteenth over, but tight bowling by off-spinner Avril Fahey and fast-medium Therese McGregor restricted the scoring to just three runs in the next seven. Captain and opening bat Karen Smithies, who describes herself as the "sheetanchor" of the England batting, failed to go on with it yet again, bowled by McGregor at the start of the 22nd over having made just 19. Smithies has scored 47 runs in the first three matches of the series so far, having faced 154 deliveries - hardly a match-winning limited-overs strike rate.

Kathryn Leng was top score for England with 24, however this took 81 deliveries to execute. England were dismissed for 106 in 45.5 overs, all five Australian bowlers putting in impressive displays.

Mason took 4/26 from 7.5 overs to add to her 5/30 on Sunday and bring up her 50th career ODI wicket. Clea Smith, with naggingly accurate medium pace, took 3/17 from her ten, while Fitzpatrick (1/21 from eight) and Fahey (1/29 from ten) also troubled the England team. Therese McGregor finished with the magnificent figures of 1/12 from her ten overs. For her last two overs she changed to a short run-up and bowled wrist-spin.

Australia's task in chasing 107 was always going to be an easy one, with Belinda Clark and Lisa Keightley - probably the two finest batsmen in women's cricket today - polishing off the runs with ease. Though Keightley (38*) showed some discomfort midway through her innings with a muscle strain in her leg that required treatment at the drinks break, Clark put on a dazzling display of strokemaking, with a number of shots in her 78-ball innings threatening to become the first six of the series. Clark brought up her half-century in 66 deliveries and ended the match with a four smashed through the covers off leg-spinner Kathryn Leng. Australia scored 32 runs in the last three and a half overs of the match to win after 24.3 overs.

Easily the biggest crowd of the series so far, in excess of one thousand, saw the first full international match of either gender to be played at the picturesque and historic ground in the southern highlands of New South Wales, the ground where the young Don Bradman played his junior cricket. The day was dedicated to the first Australian women's team to play Test cricket in 1934/35, and after the match a park bench was officially opened in their honour.


Date-stamped : 01 Feb2000 - 10:22