By Rob Barnett
England regained the Women’s Ashes via their fourth straight win over Australia, which came by five wickets with an over to spare in the second Twenty20 international at the Ageas Bowl.
Lydia Greenway’s crafty 80 from 64 balls, the highest format score for England Women, saw the tourists’ modest 127 for seven overhauled in front of a strong crowd, which built ahead of the game between England and Australia’s men.
Greenway, who should have been stumped on 10, underpinned a recovery from the depths of nine for three, sharing a stand of 67 with captain Charlotte Edwards before completing victory.
Bowlers Danni Hazell and Katherine Brunt were key to restricting Australia, who chose to bat first in overcast conditions near the south coast. They respectively returned figures of 2-11 and 1-15 from four-over allocations. Save for opener Meg Lanning’s 53-ball 60, the tourists struggled to score smoothly.
Today’s victory represents a stunning response to going four points to two down after losing the first one-day international at Lord’s last Tuesday. That left England needing to win four of the last five matches to be sure of regaining the urn.
They completed that task ahead of Saturday's finale at the Emirates Durham ICG thanks most notably to player of the match Greenway, whose 11 fours featured several reverse and regular sweeps against spinners and seamers.
The reply initially faltered when Heather Knight and Danni Wyatt were bowled respectively by Julie Hunter and Sarah Coyte, between which Coyte took a brilliant right-handed return catch to snare Sarah Taylor.
Greenway seized the initiative with two reverse-swept fours off Erin Osborne full-tosses, the second coming immediately before her reprieve by Australia wicketkeeper and skipper Jodie Fields.
The left-handed Greenway took Osborne for two more fours in her next over and also hit Ellyse Perry for a pair of boundaries in the 10th, after which 65 were required for victory.
Edwards fell for 24 to Holly Ferling, via a skied catch at mid-off, shortly before Greenway heralded her fifty by sweeping Coyte finely for four.
Tension grew when Natalie Sciver’s cameo 13 was ended by a run-out with 12 needed from 13 balls, but Greenway reverse swept Coyte for two more boundaries before scrambling a single to short fine-leg for the winning run.
Both sides had made a change from Tuesday’s first T20I at Chelmsford. England brought in spinner Holly Colvin for seamer Anya Shrubsole, who has a groin injury, while Australia gave a format debut to 17-year-old seamer Holly Ferling, who replaced Jess Jonassen.
Alyssa Healy was dropped at square-leg by Knight but it mattered little when she fell at midwicket in the same Brunt over. Likewise, Jess Cameron narrowly survived being run out by Edwards but then departed to Jenny Gunn’s direct hit from her own bowling.
Lanning eased to a 50-ball half-century in the company of Alex Blackwell during a stand of 57 that ended when the former, having lifted Gunn over square-leg for the game’s sole six, was unlucky to be run out off bowler Colvin’s fingertips.
Blackwell perished for 25 to Gunn via a skied catch at mid-off in the penultimate over and Australia capitulated in the last, losing wickets to its first three balls although the second was a run out so Hazell did not take a hat-trick.
Live Text Commentary
— England Cricket (@ECB_cricket) August 29, 2013
5:06pm - ENGLAND WIN BY FIVE WICKETS AND REGAIN THE ASHES! - England 128/5; Greenway 80, Brindle 0 - Greenway profits again from the reverse sweep, taking Coyte for two and a pair of fours before scrambling a single to short fine-leg to complete victory with an over to spare and end on an England Women’s format-best 80 from 64 balls, featuring 11 fours.
5pm - WICKET! Sciver run out 13; Eng 116/5 - Greenway reverse sweeps Hunter for three, but a mix-up then sees Sciver well short at the non-striker’s end. At the end of the over the hosts require 11 from 12 deliveries.
4:54pm - Sciver survives Osborne’s stumping appeal as the batter gets her foot grounded behind the line in the nick of time. England need 19 from 18.
4:48pm - Greenway repeats the shot that heralded her milestone, this time off Ferling who is then driven to the point boundary by Natalie Sciver as England reach three figures. They want 25 from 24 deliveries.
4:41pm - FIFTY! Greenway (45b 8x4 0x6) - Greenway finely sweeps Coyte for four to go to a half-century that keeps England on course to regain the Ashes.
4:35pm - WICKET! Edwards c Cameron b Ferling 24; 76/4 - Following a tight over from Osborne, Edwards skies a catch to Jess Cameron at mid-off, ending a partnership of 67. England need 52 from 40 balls.
4:29pm - Edwards and Greenway accumulate sensibly in overs from Ferling and Perry, meaning the hosts require 55 from 48 deliveries.
4:21pm - Greenway profits from a misfield with a whipped four through midwicket and immediately gets four more off Perry to long-leg. At half way in the chase, England need 65 to win.
4:12pm - Greenway clips Ellyse Perry to the backward square-leg rope, moving England to 50 in the eighth over. Holly Ferling then begins with a tight over.
4:06pm - A steady over from Hunter sees England reach 33 for three from the powerplay. Greenway then punches Osborne through the covers and down the ground for fours as England regain the initiative.
4:02pm - CHANCE! - Lydia Greenway twice reverse sweeps full-tosses from spinner Erin Osborne to the boundary but is then beaten by a brilliant delivery that also goes past wicketkeeper Jodie Fields for two.
3:57pm - Edwards pulls Hunter for four to give a growing crowd something to cheer.
3:54pm - WICKET! Wyatt b Coyte 0 Eng 9/3 - Danni Wyatt tries to play behind square on the off side but fails to make contact with a ball that comes in and hits high up off stump. This is a dream start to England’s innings for Australia.
3:52pm - WICKET! Taylor c & b Coyte 1; Eng 9/2 - Coyte sticks out her right hand to take a stunning return catch and claim the wicket of England’s most dangerous batter.
3:48pm - WICKET! Knight b Hunter 2; Eng 8/1 - Heather Knight is cleaned up by a beauty from Julie Hunter that clips the top of middle and off stumps, giving Australia the early breakthrough they craved.
3:44pm - Charlotte Edwards gets an early leg-side four off Sarah Coyte thanks to an uncharacteristic misfield on the boundary from Ellyse Perry.
3:29pm - END OF INNINGS! Australia 127/7; Haynes 2, Coyte 1 - Ellyse Perry holes out to deep midwicket for 11, Jodie Fields is run out for two and Erin Osborne is lbw to Knight for nought from the first three balls of the final over as England are set 128 to retain the Ashes. Hazell completes outstanding figures of 4-1-11-2.
3:21pm - WICKET! Blackwell c Brindle b Gunn 25; Aus 119/4 - Blackwell takes four to fine-leg immediately before skying to mid-off as England oust another threatening batter.
3:19pm - Colvin finishes her allocation with 0-26 as her last over costs seven.
3:15pm - With Australia into three figures, Wyatt sends down a steady 17th over to retain England’s decent position.
3:09pm - WICKET! Lanning run out 60; Aus 95/3 - Lanning falls in cruel fashion when Blackwell drives down the ground and bowler Colvin gets a finger tip on the ball before it crashes into the stumps with the non-striker stranded. That’s a big wicket given Lanning was looking dangerous.
3:06pm - FIFTY! Lanning (50b 5x4 1x6) - The right-handed opener deposits Gunn over the square-leg rope to reach a half-century with the game’s first six. Next ball she is fortunate to inside edge for four.
3:05pm - Gunn’s second over goes for a single a ball, but Natalie Sciver proves expensive in her first, which costs 12 and includes a pulled four from Lanning.
2:56pm - The spinners are racing through the middle overs to keep the pressure on Australia, who are 60 for two from 12 following another good set of six from Hazell. Lanning then narrowly survives a run-out chance despite fine work from Brindle.
2:50pm - Alex Blackwell gets going with a single off Colvin, but Australia are being contained at 47 for two from 10 overs. Lanning then collects a four at midwicket off the returning Wyatt after a slight misfield from Lydia Greenway.
2:44pm - WICKET! Cameron run out 7; Aus 38/2 - Cameron goes to a direct hit this time, Jenny Gunn fielding from her bowling and throwing down the non-striker’s stumps. Lanning then guides for four through point.
2:42pm - CHANCE! - Charlotte Edwards narrowly misses with a shy at the stumps from mid-on. A direct hit would have sent Cameron on her way. Instead, a single comes from each ball in Holly Colvin’s opening over.
2:39pm - Brunt completes her allocation with impressive figures of 1-15. England’s senior bowler has led by example.
2:35pm - Hazell continues to new batter Jess Cameron. An otherwise tight over is spoilt by four byes from the last ball, taking Australia to 26 for one from the powerplay.
2:30pm - WICKET! Healy c Brindle b Brunt 9; Aus 19/1 - Healy survives when Knight cannot hold a regulation head-height chance at square-leg, but it matters not as she soon lofts to midwicket where Arran Brindle calls for the catch and holds on.
2:25pm - Brunt’s second set of six proves expensive with Healy picking up two leg-side fours, the first via an emphatic pull. Danni Hazell, another of the spinners, replaces Wyatt and, like on Tuesday, starts with a maiden, this time to Lanning.
2:21pm - Danni Wyatt, one of three spinners in England’s team, shares the new ball and sends down two full-tosses in her first over, allowing Lanning to hit fours through mid-on and cover.
2:18pm - Katherine Brunt starts with a tight over that costs just one run. Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy are opening the batting.
1:59pm - England make one change from Tuesday’s win at Chelmsford with spinner Holly Colvin replacing seamer Anya Shrubsole, who was forced from the field by a groin injury two days ago. Holly Ferling, a 17-year-old format debutant, comes in for Jess Jonassen in Australia’ sole alteration.
England team: Charlotte Edwards, Heather Knight, Sarah Taylor, Danni Wyatt, Lydia Greenway, Natalie Sciver, Jenny Gunn, Arran Brindle, Katherine Brunt, Danni Hazell, Holly Colvin.
Australia team: Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning, Jess Cameron, Jodie Fields, Alex Blackwell, Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Erin Osborne, Sarah Coyte, Julie Hunter, Holly Ferling.
1:51pm - AUSTRALIA WIN TOSS & BAT - Australia captain Jodie Fields calls correctly and opts to set a target in the first game of today’s double-header, later featuring England and Australia’s men.
1:49pm - Hello and welcome to ecb.co.uk’s live text commentary on the second Twenty20 international between England and Australia at the Ageas Bowl. Victory for the hosts will see them regain the Women’s Ashes.