Australian opening batter Nicole Bolton steps into a drive against England. Photo: Brad Greenshields/Coffs Coast Advocate
Australian opening batter Nicole Bolton steps into a drive against England. Photo: Brad Greenshields/Coffs Coast Advocate Brad Greenshields

Australia extends Ashes lead in Coffs

NOT even a hail storm during the innings break and a slippery ball that caused controversy could stop Australia from extending its lead in the multi-format Women's Ashes.

Chasing a revised target of 285 off 46 overs England fell well short, never recovering from the loss of early wickets to eventually fall 75 runs shy of victory under lights in Coffs Harbour.

Some resistance in the middle order from Fran Wilson and Katherine Brunt, who made a personal best of 52, frustrated the home side but the result was never really in doubt.

England was behind the run rate from the get-go with Megan Schutt's two early wickets on her way to figures of 4-26 the catalyst to a strong performance with the ball.

The win means Australia has claimed four of the 14 points up for grabs in the multi-format series with four matches still to be played.

Earlier the triumph was set up when Australia dominated proceedings with the bat.

Captain Rachael Haynes made a career high ODI score of 89 not out off only 56 balls as the Southern Stars reached 296.

The platform that allowed Haynes to go hard with nine boundaries and three sixes was provided by the top order of Nicole Bolton, Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry who all made half centuries.

For Perry her 67 was her third consecutive 50 in Coffs Harbour continuing her love affair with the ground.

It was a love affair that soon turned sour early in the England run chase though.

Returning after another short rain delay, Perry was sensationally taken from the attack by the umpires in only her third over after being called for two full toss deliveries above waist height.

While the two deliveries had no malice behind them and the slippery ball was clearly to blame, the laws of the game make no allowances for a wet ball and Perry was forced into the unusual role of full time fielder.

A role she performed dutifully while taking a great outfield catch late in the innings to dismiss Wilson.

Tahlia McGrath took her more experienced teammate's place at the bowling crease and it wasn't long before she took her first wicket at international level when she had Sarah Taylor caught behind to break the 57 run stand she put on with captain Heather Knight.

Nostalgic cricket fans were once again able to rejoice at seeing caught Healy bowled McGrath in the scorebook.

Australia is now aiming for a clean sweep of the ODI part of the series with an eye on a third victory in Sunday's match also being played in Coffs Harbour.

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