Match Preview: 2nd ODI— England vs Australia
Date: 4 July 2019
Venue: Grace Road, Leicester
The multi-format Ashes series began with a nail-biting encounter in the first ODI in Leicester where Australia held their nerve to seal a two-wicket win and bag two vital points. Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy were the star performers for Australia— the former picking up three crucial wickets and the latter smashing a half-century. For England, Natalie Sciver and Sophie Ecclestone were the standouts with both bat and ball. They were assisted by Laura Marsh, the veteran off-spinner, who made a valuable allround contribution.
The hosts will be bitterly disappointed with their batting and fielding performances— mistakes that cost them the match. Their top order succumbed to some soft dismissals and were unable to kick on after showing glimpses of good form. The Australian batting line-up made similar errors in their pursuit of 178, and took the match too deep for their liking. They will want to rectify those mistakes and put on a better show with the bat.
The visitors will be aware that England are likely to come back hard at them in an attempt to level the series.
Promoted to open two years ago in the 2017 Ashes series at home, Healy has not looked back since. She scored a brilliant 66 in the first ODI and was clearly the only batter, apart from Sciver, to look comfortable in the middle. However, the wicket-keeper will certainly be disappointed that she was unable to see the chase through. Healy will be keen to rectify that aspect in the second ODI on Thursday (July 4) and try to bat deep. England bowlers have to stop her early to make inroads.
Perry set the tone for the series with an opening spell that allowed Australia to rip through England’s top order. She picked up three big wickets in her first three overs to help reduce England to 19 for 4 within the first half of the power play. The allrounder, however, will be disappointed that she was unable to contribute with the bat— stumped brilliantly by Sarah Taylor off a leg-side wide bowled by Sciver— something she will be keen to turn around.
While the rest of the batting line-up crumbled around her, a controlled half-century from Natalie Sciver guided England to a somewhat respectable score in the first ODI. The allrounder’s performance with the bat proved once again, why she is rated so highly by the cricketing world. Sciver came in to bat in the fifth over of the innings with her side tottering at 19 for 3 and played the sheet anchor role to perfection. Without curbing her natural attacking instincts, the right hander continued to milk the Australian bowlers— pushing the field back with her powerful strokes and then finding singles when the field was deep. With the support of the lower order batters she scored a valuable 64 for her side. She also chipped in with the ball taking the important scalp of Perry.
Ahead of the series, Heather Knight predicted the role of spinners is going to be vital in the middle overs. Ecclestone, England’s frontline spinner, backed up her captain’s belief with a splendid spell of 3 for 34 to rattle Australia’s chase. For a while, she was threatening to take the game away from the visitors, but basic errors in the field cost England dearly. Ecclestone also scored a vital run-a-ball 27. Her partnership with Laura Marsh helped England accelerate somewhat towards the back end of the innings.
It is expected that the second ODI will take place on the same pitch that was used on Tuesday (July 2). Although both teams batted well below par, the pitch itself offered little or no help to the bowlers and therefore, one could expect a higher scoring game, with both teams keen to turn their batting form around. Expect a score in range of 280
Amy Jones, Tammy Beaumont, Sarah Taylor (wk), Natalie Sciver, Heather Knight (c), Fran Wilson, Katherine Brunt, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone
Nicole Bolton, Alyssa Healy (wk), Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham, Megan Schutt