Marsh secures last-ball triumph
England women clinched a series-winning victory over Australia off the final ball of a nail-biting third one-day international at Stratford-upon-Avon.
Laura Marsh was dropped off the final ball of the game, but managed to scrambled the two runs needed to secure a two-wicket triumph and an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
It represented a first ODI series success over Australia since 1976, and the first time England have won three successive matches against their old rivals.
Australia managed 150 for eight in a game reduced to 29 overs a side and that looked at one stage like it might be enough, only for England to snatch victory in thrilling fashion.
The contribution of Ellyse Perry appeared key as she smacked an unbeaten 16 off nine balls at the end of the Australia innings and then claimed the crucial wickets of Claire Taylor and Charlotte Edwards.
The loss of Taylor, Caroline Atkins, who top-scored with 35, and Edwards in quick succession made things tough for England, as they slipped from 62 for one to 73 for four.
But useful contributions from the likes of Beth Morgan (18) and Katherine Brunt (13) gave them hope before Jenny Gunn (11 not out) and Marsh (eight not out) guided them home.
Earlier, Nicky Shaw had set England on their way with the wickets of Shelley Nitschke for a duck and Leah Poulton for seven.
Lisa Sthalekar (38) and Lauren Ebsary (40) steadied the ship, putting on 79 for the fourth wicket, but Sthalekar’s dismissal by Morgan sparked a collapse.
The tourists slumped from 102 for three to 105 for seven as England restricted them to what proved a makeable target.
Shaw finished with 2-22, while Holly Colvin and Morgan also claimed two victims.
Captain Edwards said: “To me today is as special as our two world cup wins. We have created history and it is amazing thing to be part of.
“It was a really special day for us as a team. Today was a solid team performance and it was great to see our lower order batters performing when it counted.”
Coach Mark Lane added: “I am very proud to be part of this fantastic achievement. Today everyone contributed to produce a victory that sealed the series.
“Our on-field success demonstrates the hard work and unity of the team and our support staff.”
Head of England women’s cricket Clare Connor said: “The performances of this world-class England team continue to impress all who watch them.
“Their drive and hunger for even more success after winning both the ICC World Cup in March and the ICC Twenty20 last month has overwhelmed us all.
“I am proud of every squad member and of an exceptional management team led by head coach Mark Lane.
“This is surely one of the greatest teams this country has ever produced, in any sport.”