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Last Updated: Monday, 15 August 2005, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
England women run Australia close
Women's one-day international: Australia 222-7 (50 overs) beat England 210 (49.1 runs) by 12 runs

Claire Taylor
Claire Taylor makes a diving attempt to run out Shelley Nitschke

England's women ran Australia close before succumbing to a 12-run defeat at Cheltenham in the opening game of their one-day series.

They seemed to be cruising towards a first win over the World Cup holders since 1993 when Arran Brindle (81) and Jenny Gunn (22) guided them to 198-4.

But Gunn's dismissal sparked a collapse and they were all out for 210 off the first ball of the final over.

Lisa Keightley top scored with 56 in Australia's total of 222-7.

It proved to be just enough despite another sparkling innings from Brindle, who followed her unbeaten 101 in the Test at Hove by collecting 11 fours in her highest one-day international score.

Claire Taylor had laid the foundation for England's run chase after openers Laura Newton and Charlotte Edwards departed early.

She made 57 before falling to Lisa Sthalekar, but Thompson found a reliable ally in Gunn as they kept pace with the required run rate.

With the pressure mounting on Australia, Cathryn Fitzpatrick bowled Gunn and when Brindle was caught behind off left-armer Emma Liddell in the 46th over, it proved to be a decisive moment.

Arran Brindle
Arran Brindle square cuts as she tries to steer England home

Beth Morgan, Lydia Greenway and Isa Guha followed in quick succession and Liddell ended the game with the wicket of Clare Taylor, the only survivor from England's last win over the Aussies at Guildford 12 years ago.

"I think we should probably have seen it through," Gunn told

"To get that close is disappointing for us but we've seen their bowlers now so we're confident going into the next game.

"They've got an older and more experienced team, but we're bridging the gap and in a few years time hopefully we can beat them more often than not."

Australia had chosen to bat first at the start of the game after Belinda Clark won the toss, but she was first to go when she fell to Guha for 16.

It was the first of three catches taken by Morgan, also among them a vital one to end Keightley's stylish 71-ball knock, which featured 10 boundaries.

The dangerous Karen Rolton was run out for 41 and England skipper Clare Connor then weighed in with the wickets of Sthalekar (44) and the Blackwell twins - Kate and Alex.

From 187-7, Australia were grateful for an aggressive cameo from Fitzpatrick, who hit a six and three fours in her unbeaten 38 off 30 balls to see the total beyond 200.


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