Aussies go two up in Women’s Ashes
NOT even a hail storm during the innings break and a slippery ball that caused controversy could stop Australia from extending its lead in the multi-format Women's Ashes.
Chasing a revised target of 285 off 46 overs England fell well short, never recovering from the loss of early wickets to eventually fall 75 runs shy of victory under lights in Coffs Harbour on Thursday night.
Some resistance in the middle order from Fran Wilson and Katherine Brunt, who made a personal best of 52, frustrated the home side but the result was never really in doubt.
England was behind the run rate from the get-go with Megan Schutt's two early wickets on her way to figures of 4/26 the catalyst to a strong performance with the ball.
The win means Australia has claimed four of the 16 points up for grabs in the multi-format series with four matches still to be played.
Earlier the triumph was set up when Australia dominated proceedings with the bat.
Captain Rachael Haynes made a career high ODI score of 89 not out off only 56 balls as the Southern Stars reached 296.
The platform that allowed Haynes to go hard with nine boundaries and three sixes was provided by the top order of Nicole Bolton, Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry who all made half centuries.
For Perry her 67 was her third consecutive 50 in Coffs Harbour continuing her love affair with the ground.
It was a love affair that soon turned sour early in the England run chase though.
Returning after another short rain delay, Perry was sensationally taken from the attack by the umpires in only her third over after being called for two full toss deliveries above waist height.
While the two deliveries had no malice behind them and the slippery ball was clearly to blame, the laws of the game make no allowances for a wet ball and Perry was forced into the unusual role of full time fielder.
A role she performed dutifully while taking a great outfield catch late in the innings to dismiss Wilson.
Haynes said the situation was both frustrating and confusing but the team overcome the setback well.
"I thought the way our whole group responded when that happened was really good. For Tahlia McGrath to come on and bowl how she did, get her first wicket as well and a pretty good wicket in Sarah Taylor too," she said.
"I thought it was exceptional from our group, particularly from our spinners too."
When Perry was taken from the attack, McGrath took her more experienced teammate's place at the bowling crease and it wasn't long before she took her first wicket at international level.
McGrath had Taylor caught behind to break the 57 run stand she put on with captain Heather Knight.
Nostalgic cricket fans were once again able to rejoice at seeing caught Healy bowled McGrath in the scorebook.
While unimpressed with the strict interpretation of the laws that brought McGrath on earlier than planned, Haynes thought the law that was interpreted related to bowling in a dangerous manner rather than an accidental one but the captain shook off her frustration when discussing the imposing score set with the bat.
"I think we got off to a really good start in terms of a couple of partnerships that were there and that allowed Ellyse Perry and I to come in and I guess get going," she said.
"To be able to cash in like that, it was nice."
Australia is now aiming for a clean sweep of the ODI part of the series with an eye on a third victory in Sunday's match also being played in Coffs Harbour.
"We certainly don't want to let them into the series that's for sure," Haynes said.
"They (England) are a quality team so we know that we haven't seen the best of them and they can be very dangerous. We don't want to take anything for granted so we'll be coming out on Sunday ready to go."