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Record partnership leads England Women to victory

A record second-wicket partnership against Australia helped England take the lead in the Women’s Ashes series with a brilliant in a rain-affected third one-day international.

Needing a challenging 204 from 36 overs to record victory, Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor put on 126 following the early loss of Charlotte Edwards as England Women reached their target with 16 balls to spare at the County Ground.

It surpassed England's previous best second-wicket stand against Australia in an ODI, when Sarah Taylor shared 119 with Claire Taylor in 2007.

The result leaves England leading 6-4 with three Twenty20 contests left to play as they seek to regain the Ashes.

Sarah Taylor said: “We spoke about being positive from ball one and with targets like that you’ve got to put the ball away if it’s in your area. It was brilliant to bat out there with Heather and to contribute to the win."

A soggy outfield ensured play could not begin until 2pm but once play started Anya Shrubsole wasted little time in removing Alyssa Healy.

Meg Lanning and Jess Cameron led an Australian recovery with a 50 partnership, before the latter was superbly stumped by Taylor in the 13th over.

Lanning was bowled by Holly Colvin for a 69-ball 64 before Taylor produced an even better piece of work, diving full-stretch to her right in order to pouch a reverse-sweep from Australia skipper Jodie Fields.

"I couldn’t believe that ball stuck in my glove; I saw it coming and just dived to stop it and get something on it and it just stuck. I think that’s got to be the best catch of my career so far," Taylor added.

Ellyse Perry and Alex Blackwell upped the ante impressively in an unbroken stand of 77 that spanned the final 10 overs of Australia's innings.

Perry struck four fours and a six en route to 45 from 38 balls, while Blackwell finished unbeaten with 35 as Australia posted 203 for four.

England’s response got off to a poor start as skipper Edwards was caught off Erin Osborne at the start of the third over but that brought out Taylor to partner Knight in the middle and the pair took the game to the tourists.

Both recorded half-centuries, with Knight’s taking 53 deliveries and including three fours, while Taylor’s used up 47.

Knight eventually fell to Osborne for 69 after hitting two more boundaries, leaving England 67 runs short of success.

Taylor soon followed for a 64 that included six fours and Arran Brindle was run out for 11, but Natalie Sciver and Lydia Greenway took England to the brink of victory.

Osborne struck for a third time to remove Greenway for 18 as she went for a six that would have secured victory, which was wrapped up in the next over as Perry bowled a wide to Jenny Gunn.