England unable to deny Australia level pegging

Charlotte Edwards claimed her 46th ODI half-century yesterday against Australia but all to no avail (Picture: David Davies/PA Wire).
Charlotte Edwards claimed her 46th ODI half-century yesterday against Australia but all to no avail (Picture: David Davies/PA Wire).
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England fell short of what would have been a record chase in a 63-run defeat to Australia in the Women’s Ashes.

Visiting captain Meg Lanning compiled her sixth one-day international hundred and then broke England’s opening partnership with a fine run-out to help her side follow their men’s lead by levelling the series.

England captain Charlotte Edwards recorded her 46th ODI half-century in response, but England’s middle order were unable to build on the work of their top three as they attempted to surpass Australia’s 259-6.

Edwards wanted early scalps after inserting Australia at the Bristol County Ground but Nicole Bolton (37) and Elyse Villani (35) put on 65 for the first wicket.

Rebecca Grundy forced the breakthrough, having Villani caught behind, before Anya Shrubsole bowled Bolton.

But Lanning combined with Ellyse Perry to compile 132 for the third wicket.

The former survived on 72 when shelled by Sarah Taylor while Katie Cross could not hold a difficult return catch after the Australian captain had added 11 more.

Lanning reached her ton from 92 balls before being stumped for 104 off Natalie Sciver with 15 balls of the innings left.

By this stage Perry had ended two runs short of a seventh successive ODI fifty when she fell to Heather Knight.

England’s record successful chase is 243 and their response started well, with Edwards and Knight putting on 92 for the first wicket. Lanning forced the breakthrough with a direct hit from midwicket to oust a diving Knight, who had been sent back by her captain after attempting a quick single.

Edwards was soon bowled by Megan Schutt (4-47) and Amy Jones followed without scoring to Jess Jonassen.

Jonassen took the key scalp of Taylor, who had raced to 43 from 39 deliveries, and when Tuesday’s matchwinning partnership of Lydia Greenway (20) and Natalie Sciver (three) were both dismissed by Sarah Coyte, England’s chances were gone.

Katherine Brunt added a rapid 21 at the death before running out of partners as Australia tore through England’s lower order.