England Women beaten in Melbourne

By Glen Robertson

An injury-hit England failed to inflict a further defeat on the hosts as Australia recovered from losing the Women’s Ashes series with a seven-wicket success at the MCG in the second Twenty20 international.

Natasha Farrant and Jenny Gunn were ruled out of the contest, joining Heather Knight and Anya Shrubsole on the sidelines, and they witnessed a comprehensive victory for Australia, themselves missing the injured Jodie Fields and Sarah Coyte.

Scotland and UAE book World Cup berths

Rob Taylor compiled a composed 46 not out, taking Scotland to a target of 261 versus Kenya and a place at the 2015 World Cup

Scotland have qualified for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand along with United Arab Emirates.

The teams came second and first respectively in the World Cup Qualifier’s Super Six table, albeit Scotland scraped into the top two via a tense victory today.

They slipped to 169 for six in the 38th over, chasing 261 to beat Kenya at Christchurch, and needed Rob Taylor’s unbeaten 46 to seal a three-wicket win with three balls to spare.

A class apart

Jenny Gunn, who exclusively blogs for ecb.co.uk, reveals a class divide in the England Women’s squad and reflects on the second and third one-day internationals with Australia.

At the start of this Ashes tour one of our coaches, Carl Crowe, split the squad into two teams – the ‘Poshies’ and the ‘Commoners’ (based largely on whether you went to state or public school!). We compete in a series of challenges/games at the beginning of every training session, with Crowey keeping a continuous points tally for the ‘series’. For info, I’m a ‘Commoner’!

Topley targets start of the season

Essex are confident left-arm seamer Reece Topley will be fit for the start of the 2014 county cricket season.

Reece Topley is aiming to be fit for the start of the season as he continues his rehab from a back injury sustained Down Under

The 19-year-old sustained an lower back injury while on duty with the England Performance Programme in Australia last month.

As a result he was unavailable for selection in the England Lions party that has just flown to Sri Lanka.

Topley, who took 48 LV= County Championship wickets last term at 28.41, is now undergoing a rehabilitation programme under the watchful eye of Essex’s lead physiotherapist Chris Clarke-Irons.

Stokes begins England healing process

By Matthew Sherry

Ben Stokes shone with bat and ball as England sealed a first international victory on their disappointing tour of Australia.

Requiring a win to avoid matching a team record by losing a 10th successive game, the hosts racked up 316 for eight after being asked to bat in the fourth one-day international.

They did so thanks to useful contributions from Ian Bell and Alastair Cook, who hit 44 and 55 respectively, plus fine efforts from Stokes and Jos Buttler.