Australia have iced their netball series with England with a crushing 16-goal victory on the back of a superb shooting display by Caitlin Thwaites and another standout performance by Sharni Layton.
The Diamonds underlined their status as world No.1, blowing the Roses away with a monster third quarter to set up the 60-44 victory at London’s Copper Box arena on Friday night, taking an unassailable 2-0 series lead ahead of Sunday’s final Test.
Player of the match in game one, defensive specialist Layton earned that honour again by grabbing more interceptions (six), rebounds (three) and deflections (seven) than any other player.
Goal shooter Thwaites led all scorers with 38 from 44, Natalie Medhurst contributed a perfect 15 from 15 and rising star Liz Watson also impressed in her maiden international start.
After shooting out of the blocks to take a 5-0 lead, Australia became increasingly sloppy as the quarter went on and England levelled the scores at 10-10 late in the quarter, which ended in a stalemate at 13-13.
Poor passing and handling at the offensive end hindered the Diamonds’ charge in the second quarter as England began to take control.
Repeated turnovers from Gretel Tippett and Thwaites allowed England to open up a four-goal lead at the midpoint of the second quarter.
Coach Lisa Alexander acted swiftly, making a tactical change by switching Medhurst – who had again started at wing attack – to goal attack while benching Tippett and introducing Paige Hadley.
The move had an immediate impact, with Australia quickly erasing England’s lead before snatching a two-goal lead to go into the major break up 25-23.
With the momentum well and truly in their favour, Australia pounced to smash the home side 35-21 in the second half – winning the third quarter 19-10 and the fourth quarter 16-11 as the world champions flexed their muscles.