ENG W vs AUS W: Sciver-Brunt’s ton helps England level Women’s Ashes

Toby Marshall
19 July 2023

In the multi-format series, England managed to level the score with Australia at 8-8, showcasing their prowess in limited-overs cricket. Winning consecutive T20 matches and starting the ODI leg with a victory in Bristol demonstrated their competitive spirit. It’s worth noting that Australia, the No. 1 team in the world, hadn’t lost a bilateral ODI series in a decade prior to this.

Under overcast skies in Somerset, England’s bowling attack came alive after an outstanding innings from Nat Sciver-Brunt, who scored a magnificent 129 runs, setting a record for the highest individual score against Australia’s women’s team in one-day internationals. This exceptional performance helped England set a formidable total of 285/9.

Taking advantage of a rain break, England capitalized on Australia’s struggles while chasing a revised target of 269, with Kate Cross leading the sharp attack, taking three crucial wickets.

Australia took control early in the final encounter after Alyssa Healy won the toss and opted to put England in to bat, with the looming threat of rain. The England openers fell cheaply, and the team was struggling at 12 runs for 2 wickets after four overs. However, Nat Sciver-Brunt and Heather Knight, the experienced pair, came together and steadied the innings. By the end of the powerplay, their partnership had lifted England to 43/2.

Sciver-Brunt played a cautious innings, taking on Alana King’s spin and bringing up England’s 50 with a well-timed cover drive. She continued to attack the spinners, hitting boundaries and sixes, particularly targeting the long-on boundary. Knight also joined in the aggression, clearing the ropes with a powerful shot off Georgia Wareham.

The partnership of 147 runs was eventually broken when King dismissed Knight for 67. Shortly after, Alice Capsey was caught off Jess Jonassen’s bowling. Sciver-Brunt, however, found a new partner in Danielle Wyatt, and together, they accelerated the scoring, adding 66 runs off just 43 balls.

Sciver-Brunt reached an impressive milestone, scoring 129 runs, her fourth century in five ODIs against Australia. Despite losing a few late wickets, England managed to post their second-highest total against their rivals in this format.

In the second over, Lauren Bell dismissed opener Phoebe Litchfield, while Kate Cross delivered a brilliant wobble-seam delivery to shatter Alyssa Healy’s stumps, leaving Australia struggling at 15 for 2. Nat Sciver-Brunt had a slightly wayward over in the 13th, bowling three wides, but Amy Jones displayed her skill with an excellent stumping off Sophie Ecclestone’s bowling, breaking a steady 53-run partnership.

Elysse Perry seemed threatening, continuing her form from Southampton, and reached her fifty with a massive six over long-on off a free hit after a no-ball from Freya Dean. However, Cross made a significant impact as she returned to the attack, dismissing Perry and Beth Mooney in quick succession.

Ashleigh Gardner eased the pressure on Australia by smashing 17 runs off one Bell over and scoring a quickfire 41 off 24 balls. However, when Sciver-Brunt and Jones combined for the stumping of Georgia Wareham, England regained momentum. Freya Dean continued England’s dominance, bowling Annabel Sutherland in a wicket-maiden over, and later claiming the final wicket of the series, as Jess Jonassen sent the ball to Bell at short third after a successful catch behind the stumps by Jones.

Author Toby Marshall