Ireland captain Laura Delany insisted that there were positives to take from the 63-run defeat by world champions Australia in their penultimate game of the Women’s Tri-Series at Bready.

Trying to surpass a total of 182 was always going to be beyond the team, but it could have been even higher as Arlene Kelly and the recalled Georgina Dempsey each took a wicket as only 39 runs were conceded in the last five overs.

The absence of a significant partnership remains Ireland’s failing with the bat – the highest yesterday was 36, albeit from 29 balls between Orla Prendergast and Delany – but still only one batter has got past 25 this week. They finished on 119 for seven.

“To restrict the best team in the world to 39 for two in the powerplay, and then again in the last five overs, was very good, so there are positives to take, but we struggled take wickets in the middle overs and they had a big partnership,” said Delany.

“But I’m proud of the way the team played. Compared to the first game our attitude was brilliant. Yes, it has been tough, but we can learn a lot from Australia, the way they executed their plans from ball one with the bat or ball one in the field, but it’s just brilliant for us to play against these teams.”

Dempsey and Rachel Delaney picked up the early wickets to reduce Australia to 31 for two in the fifth over but captain Meg Lanning and player of the match Tahlia McGrath then added 135 for the third wicket, the latter giving the only chance when she was on 68.

Cara Murray took the final catch, above her head at mid-off, but there was still no sign of Amy Hunter in the side as Prendergast, playing as a specialist batter, continued in the No.3 role.

She was top scorer from just 22 balls, and hit four of Ireland’s seven boundaries, but she was undone by the mystery spin of Alana King who, three balls later, had Delaney stumped to leave the hosts 66 for three at halfway.

Ireland’s final game in the series is against Pakistan on Sunday.