England's women close to retaining Ashes after Melbourne win
England's women took a big step towards retaining the Ashes after a seven-wicket ODI win over Australia in Melbourne.
Last Updated: 19/01/14 11:32am
Lydia Greenway and Arran Brindle starred with the bat as Charlotte Edwards' side chased down their target for 210 with more than three overs to spare.
The victory puts them 8-0 in front and leaves them needing to win just one of the remaining two one-dayers or three Twenty20 matches to retain the urn.
England's bowlers started brightly with Anya Shrubsole trapping Elyse Villani in front for eight and former captain Meg Lanning making only 13 before she fell off the bowling of Jenny Gunn.
Jess Cameron added 21 before Danielle Wyatt struck to leave Australia 68-3 but that would be England's last success as Alex Blackwell and Ellyse Perry combined to put on 141 for the fourth wicket.
Blackwell led the way with a fine unbeaten 82, hitting five fours and a six, while Perry weighed in with 65 not out off 78 balls to see the hosts through to 209-3.
England's reply took a very similar journey and when Edwards (41) joined Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor - they both scored nine - in the pavilion England were 68-3.
But Greenway and Brindle overcame a nervy start to their stand and grew visibly in confidence as the runs began to flow off a toiling home attack.
Greenway took 17 balls to get off the mark but was the first of the pair to make it to 50, and she ended up with an unbeaten 69 off 94 balls.
Brindle passed 50 the over after her batting partner and completed the victory with a single off the penultimate ball of the 47th over, her innings of 64 including six fours, just like Greenway.
Greenway said: "England and Australia in any sport is always going to be huge competition. On the pitch we play hard and off the pitch we respect each other.
"It's a good win, it probably looks a little more comfortable than it actually was.
"It was a tough batting track and you have to get in and play with responsibility. Arran did really well and Heather and Charlotte got us off to a good start."