England women seal series victory

Laura Marsh

Laura Marsh advances at the top of the order as England opened up an unassailable 3-0 advantage in the five-match Twenty20 series

England women wrapped up the Twenty20 series after a nerve-jangling four-wicket win which went down to the penultimate ball.

It was the first time England women have won a limited overs series in Australia.

After victories in Adelaide and Melbourne, England were set 146 to win the third of five T20s at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.

The tourists made a perfect start with openers Charlotte Edwards and Laura Marsh putting on 71 for the first wicket in 10 overs.

Edwards, the in-form captain, was in typically belligerent form as she cracked five fours in a quickfire 36 before she was caught by Sarah Coyte off Shelley Nitschke.

Danielle Wyatt did not last long and England were reduced to 99 for three in the 14th over when Marsh, who made 45 at a little better than a run a ball, became one of three batsmen dismissed by Coyte's medium pace.

Lydia Greenway, the star batsman this tour, marshalled England towards the line despite the loss of Susie Rowe.

England needed three runs off the final over when they caught a bout of the jitters with Greenway and Heather Knight falling to successive deliveries. But Jenny Gunn and Danielle Hazell ensured there was no further drama as England crossed the line with one ball remaining.

Earlier in the day England looked set to be chasing a huge score once Meg Lanning launched an assault which saw her strike four fours and one maximum.

But, having blitzed 34, she holed out to Greenway, who took an excellent catch in the deep off Hazell to leave Australia 51 for one in the sixth over.

Holly Colvin, who returned fine figures of 1-21, teamed up with the equally economical Hazell to stabilise the run-rate, which had threatened to escalate out of control.

The returning Isa Guha picked up three wickets before Colvin ran out Lisa Sthalekar in the final over.

Marsh said: “The bowlers did a great job of tying them down with this fast outfield and good track. I was pleased to get off to a good start with Charlotte and all the girls followed on from that.

“It was a close finish but Lydia performed with the bat again to get the run rate up and it was great to see Jenny take us over the line.”

Edwards said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to win today and to win our first limited over series in Australia is very special.

“We upped our game on a very good pitch and again batted exceptionally well.

“I’m very proud of the whole squad. Everyone has contributed throughout the last three games and thoroughly deserve this series victory.”