England women hand over Ashes
England women relinquished their grip on the Ashes for the first time in six years after Australia cruised to a comfortable seven-wicket victory in Sydney.
Resuming on 29 for one in pursuit of 198, Australia were indebted to a match-winning 125-run stand by Sarah Elliott and captain Alex Blackwell for the third wicket.
The pair came together at 54 for two on the final morning after Isa Guha trapped Shelley Nitschke lbw, and, by occupying the crease for 45 overs, ultimately decided the outcome of the match.
In a game where ball had dominated bat for three days, the Elliott-Blackwell partnership was comfortably the highest on either side.
Katherine Brunt provided England with some late cheer when she pinned Blackwell in front with Australia needing 19 for victory. The Australia captain had made 74, including four fours.
Elliott ensured there would be no further drama and was unbeaten on 81 when victory came. Her vigil, which spanned 262 deliveries, saw her strike just one four.
England were left to rue a poor showing with the bat, particularly in the second innings when they were bowled out for just 149.
With key batsmen Claire Taylor and Beth Morgan sitting injured at home and Sarah Taylor deciding not to tour, England certainly missed the experienced trio's runs.
“It’s just a great feeling to bring the Ashes home again and I am so proud of the team,” said Blackwell. “It’s been a great four days and we’ll all remember this for a long time.
“I was part of the team that lost the Ashes back in 2005 for the first time in 40 years, so to be captain of this team to win them back again is a great feeling and a tremendous honour.
“England has played well all series and this match could easily have gone either way but I’m very proud of the team for the way they went about it."