Australia win Women’s Ashes opener


Australia began their Women’s Ashes defence with a tight two-wicket victory over England in the first one-day international in Brisbane.

Lauren Winfield (48) top-scored for England as they made 228-8, with off-spinner Ashleigh Gardner taking 3-47.

Alex Blackwell (67 not out) anchored Australia’s response but the home side slipped to 181-6 with seven overs left.

However, Gardner (27) struck two sixes in an important cameo as Australia won with five balls remaining.

In the multi-format series, teams earn two points for a win in all limited-overs games, with four points for a win in the Test.

The second ODI begins on Thursday at Coffs Harbour (04:40 BST).

The fact that England came so close is a credit to their skill with the ball, after their batting fell short.

England came close to pulling off a surprise victory as Amanda-Jade Wellington was run out by Sciver from mid-wicket to leave two runs needed from the final six balls, but Jess Jonassen drove her first delivery for four to ensure Australia’s victory.

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