Women's Ashes 2015: England beat Australia in first ODI

By Kalika MehtaBBC Sport at Taunton
Natalie Sciver
Natalie Sciver's previous highest ODI score - 65 not out - came in her previous match against New Zealand
Women's Ashes, 1st ODI, Taunton
Australia 238-9 (50 overs): Perry 78, Blackwell 58; Brunt 3-48
England 240-6 (45.4 overs): Sciver 66, Greenway 53; Osborne 3-39
England won by four wickets (England 2pts; lead series 2-0)

Natalie Sciver's 66 helped England to a four-wicket win over Australia in the first game of the seven-match Women's Ashes.

Sciver, 22, shared a 122-run fifth-wicket partnership with Lydia Greenway (53) as England chased down 239 in the one-day international at Taunton.

An impressive 78 off 96 balls from Ellyse Perry helped the visitors to 238-9 after Katherine Brunt took 3-48.

England fell to 80-4 in response, before Sciver's highest ODI score handed the hosts victory.

Victory earned England two points, with a further 14 available from the remaining six games in the multi-format series.

The second of three ODIs takes place at Bristol on Thursday, after which the teams play one Test - worth four points to the winner - and three Twenty20 internationals.

Women's Ashes 2015: England pleased with 'incredible' work rate

Australia replaced Nicole Bolton with Jess Cameron after the opener was ruled out with concussion having been hit on the back of the head by Rene Farrell in the nets on Monday.

The visitors chose to bat first after winning the toss but England's three-pronged seam attack soon made inroads despite a batting-friendly pitch.

Brunt bowled consecutive wicket maidens to dismiss both of Australia's openers as Elyse Velani (18) chipped the ball off her legs straight to Edwards at square-leg before Jess Jonassen bottom-edged the ball into her stumps in the right-arm bowler's next over.

It took just four balls for Kate Cross to claim her first home Ashes wicket as she trapped Meg Lanning lbw to reduce the Southern Stars to 35-3.

Ex-England batter Ebony Rainford-Brent:
"Nat Sciver played a really intelligent innings with Lydia Greenway. People say 'what about the others if Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor don't fire', but they did it today. Charlotte will be really pleased with the performance - Rebecca Grundy bowled OK, Kate Cross made early breakthroughs and there are some real positives."

However, a 121-run fourth-wicket partnership between Perry and Alex Blackwell helped rebuild their innings with both players earning reprieves through dropped chances.

Heather Knight's excellent run-out of Blackwell for 58 was the first of four in the match as superb fielding from England slowed Australia's push towards a score of 250.

Perry, who passed 1,000 ODI runs when she reached 27 in this innings, finally holed out to Sciver - who took a brilliant catch above her head - for 78 before Alyssa Healy hit a quick 29.

The Australia all-rounder ensure England's response got off to a poor start as she bowled Edwards via a bottom edge for 15.

Knight and Amy Jones fell cheaply, while Sarah Taylor made an entertaining 30 before Osborne (3-35) had her caught behind.

With the pressure on, Sciver and Greenway's relatively chanceless century partnership tested Lanning's captaincy as the 23-year-old regularly rotated her seamers and spinners - to no avail.

After both players fell having passed their half-centuries it was left to Georgia Elwiss (25 not out) to take England home.

Women's Ashes schedule
DateGameVenueWinnerPts available
21 Jul1st ODITauntonE (4 wkts)2 (Eng 2-0)
23 Jul2nd ODIBristol-2
26 Jul3rd ODIWorcester-2
11-14 AugTestCanterbury-4
26 Aug1st T20Chelmsford-2
28 Aug2nd T20Hove-2
31 Aug3rd T20Cardiff-2
Heather Knight and ECB president Giles Clarke
Vice-captain Heather Knight received a special award for her 50th ODI appearance
Katherine Brunt celebrates a wicket
Katherine Brunt starred for England, taking three wickets and running out Sarah Coyte
Australia celebrate the wicket of Sarah Taylor
Australia removed the dangerous Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor, but struggled to break the fifth-wicket stand
Georgia Elwiss
Georgia Elwiss, preferred to Jenny Gunn, hit the winning runs for England

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