Women's Cricket: Australia loom for Brittin

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The Independent Online
While England's women cricketers were having their grand day out in Vijayawada on Friday, running up a new record World Cup total of 376 for 2 against a hapless Pakistan, Australia were disposing of South Africa in Bangalore with ominous ease. The South Africans could manage only 163 for 9, and Australia beat them by 10 wickets, passing the required total in just 28.5 overs.

So England know what awaits them in their final group game in Nagpur on Thursday, but say they are not thinking about it. The coach, Megan Lear, said: "We'll deal with Denmark and Ireland first, and if we keep on improving we'll be ready. I'm not surprised Australia are strong, but cricket-wise we are very happy ourselves. We've stood up to a gruelling schedule, we've stayed focused on our game, and our batting against Pakistan was brilliant."

It is a mark of England's professionalism that the opener Jan Brittin was not entirely happy with Friday's knock of 138 - even though it equalled her career best - believing that she can perform more fluently. England were also unhappy with their performance in the field - despite winning by a crushing margin of 230 runs - and worked hard on that in yesterday afternoon's practice.

Today they play Denmark here, before going to Pune for Tuesday's meeting with Ireland. They expect to win both games, but the manner of the victories concerns them. Aware that they have been easing off when they are on top, the captain Karen Smithies is looking for "professionalism right from the warm-up. This is a vital part of the competition, raising our game against sides like these".

None the less, it's already looking clear that England and Australia are the group's top sides. In the Delhi-based Group B, where many games are being washed out, matters are more murky. New Zealand and India should progress, but judgement on the quality of untried sides from Sri Lanka and the West Indies remains open.

Playing and travelling on alternate days puts sides through a wearing Indian mill of teeming airports, seething railway stations and interminable bus rides, with delays at every turn. Having toured here two years ago, England are well prepared for this, and are bearing up well. They move from plan B to plan C without fuss every day; when the bus was late for yesterday's practice the squad shrugged and went to the ground in a fleet of auto-rickshaws instead.