Australia's run chase wins back the Ashes

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The Independent Online

The Australian women's team hold the Ashes for the first time since 2005 after beating England by seven wickets in a one-off Test in Sydney yesterday. The key figure for the home side was Sarah Elliot, who hit an unbeaten 81 to make short work of a victory target of 198 on the fourth and final day.

Elliott and Alex Blackwell (74) shared a third-wicket stand of 125 as Australia, who were 29 for 1 overnight, reached their target for the loss of three wickets to win back the Ashes from England, whose last Ashes defeat came in 2003.

The crucial innings was England's second, the match's third. Having made a respectable 207 first time (of which captain Charlotte Edwards contributed 114, her first Ashes century), they collapsed to 149 on the third day after an inspirational spell from Rene Farrell of 5-15 from 12 overs (including a hat-trick). Farrell's efforts paved the way for Australia, who had only managed 159 in their first innings, to force a win on day four.

It was bitterly disappointing for England, who have dominated women's cricket in recent years and who beat Australia 4-1 in the recent Twenty20 series. They were missing a number of first-choice players, including Claire Taylor, who was injured early in the tour, but Australia have undeniably improved in recent years, having won the World Twenty20 in 2010.

Edwards said that England's failure to drive home their first-innings advantage proved decisive. "I'm absolutely gutted to hand over the Ashes," she said. "Our bowlers did a fantastic job but we didn't put enough runs on the board. We would have liked to make it a bigger chase.

"I'm proud of how the team have really fought to the end. We've had a relatively inexperienced side out here and for many of them this was their first Test match."

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