A combined effort from the bowlers saw England demolish Australia A by 319 runs on the final day of their three-day practice match at Millfield School in Somerset on Sunday (July 14). Their clinical performance in the field came after a century from Natalie Sciver, and her 119-run partnership with Sarah Taylor for the third wicket, extended the hosts’ lead to 443.
Katherine Brunt set the ball rolling for England removing Georgia Redmayne, Australia A’s top scorer in the first innings, caught behind for four in only the second over of the innings. Elyse Villani, their no.3, didn’t last very long either, edging a delivery from Anya Shrubsole to Amy Jones at second slip. Soon enough, the visitors were three down when Heather Graham (7) became Brunt’s second victim of the day. Not even six overs into their chase, and Australia A were reeling at 19 for 3.
Tahlia McGrath, who missed out in the first innings, attempted to weather the storm along with Rachel Trenaman. The pair batted out nearly eight overs for a 31-run stand before Kate Cross got into the act, dismissing the latter for a 30-ball 16. Erin Burns, another half-centurion from the first innings, was the next to go— bowled by Sciver— and the visitors had crashed to 53 for 5 in 14.3 overs.
With the quicks having done their job against the top-order, it was soon the spinners’ turn to step up to the plate. Laura Marsh, the veteran off-spinner, prized out back-to-back wickets, dismissing a determined McGrath for 33, and then getting through the defenses of young Josie Dooley for 5. Sophie Ecclestone then removed Sammy-Jo Johnson for six, and England could see the end coming.
It seemed everything Heather Knight tried worked out on Sunday, as England sliced through the visitors’ lower order. Maddy Darke tried to give Australia A’s score some respectability as she grafted her way to a 47-ball 30. However, it was too little, too late as they collapsed to 124 all out in only 31.5 overs.
England used eight bowlers through the day— each one of whom managed to pick up a wicket. Marsh and Brunt were their most successful, with two wickets each.
Earlier in the day, having resumed their innings on 185 for 2, England continued to pile on the misery as Sciver and Taylor batted through much of the first session. Sciver, who completed her half century late on day two, began on a positive note, searching for runs from the very start. Her intent rubbed off on Taylor too, as the pair continued to score at just over four runs an over. The allrounder brought up her century— England’s third of the match— with a boundary off Erin Burns, before she retired out on 103.
Taylor too got back to her run-making ways, with a 99-ball 61. It was a knock that included four boundaries, but was ended by Amanda Wellington, the leg-spinner.
At 297 for 4 with their lead swelling above 400, England continued to bat on for a while with Brunt (24 not out) and Laura Marsh (10 not out) getting some valuable time in the middle. The hosts finally declared on 318 for 5 in 78 overs with a lead of 443 runs.
For Australia A, McGrath, Wellington and Molly Strano all picked up a wicket each.