Mooney and Brown help Australia Women to retain the Ashes

Australia Women retained the Ashes with a 27-run win over England in the opening ODI in Canberra with Beth Mooney (73) and Darcie Brown (4 for 34) playing key roles on the day. England was set 205 to keep their hopes alive but barring a 45 from Natalie Sciver and an unbeaten 32 from Katherine Brunt the batters failed to turn up.

England, however, managed to take things pretty close to make the hosts sweat despite being 154 for 9 at one stage. Four balls before Kate Cross drilled the ball back to Jess Jonassen, Alyssa Healy – mic’d up – conceded that things were getting too close to comfort and Cross was playing good shots. Brunt and Cross made 24 for the final wicket – the fourth-highest stand of the innings but none going past 35.

England slipped to 103 for 6 before the fightback actually started. Tammy Beaumont and Heather Knight fell with just 10 on the board while Lauren Winfield Hill, Amy Ellen Jones, and Sophia Dunkley failed to offer much resistance. Instead, Danielle Wyatt and Brunt got together to take the side forward but the side suffered another wobble post the former’s dismissal. Brown dismissed three of the top to land crucial punches and was instrumental in forcing England to play catch-up in the chase.

Australia, who were put in, lost Rachel Haynes in the fourth over but were well placed after Healy and Meg Lanning took the side past 50. They made 47 off 81 before twin wickets of Lanning and Ellyse Perry forced the side into rebuilding mode once again.

It was Mooney and Tahlia McGrath who helped the side tide through the wobble with a 58-run stand and have a platform to work with. However, they too went from 125 for 4 to 152 for 7 with Mooney watching the wickets fall from the other end. The match-changing partnership, however, came between Mooney and debutant Alana King. The pair made run-a-ball 52 with Mooney taking charge and smashing 31 off 23 in the stand. That pushed the score past 200 and eventually past England’s reach as well.

Brunt and Cross bagged two wickets each but were let down by the top order as their hopes of winning the Ashes since 2013-14 were dashed once again.