It was a case of third time lucky for England as they got over the line in the final ODI of the Women’s Ashes series, winning by 20 runs (DLS) and keeping alive their hopes of regaining the urn.
At points Australia looked well set to chase it down but England kept their head to restrict them to 257-9.
Alex Hartley took three wickets while Nat Sciver took two – and was almost impossible to score off.
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- AKA: Sciv
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- Age: 25
- Domestic Team: Surrey, Surrey Stars
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- Graham Dilley
The day didn’t start too positively for the visitors, losing Lauren Winfield to a 10-ball duck – but the second-wicket partnership between Beaumont and Taylor set out England’s stall.
While Beaumont was watchful, Taylor was enterprising and the two combined for England’s biggest partnership of the tour (122), separated only when Taylor chipped Megan Schutt to cover for an entertaining 69.
Replays suggested it may have come after Schutt overstepped but Taylor had to go.
Beaumont continued though, increasing the pace as her innings progressed, and she passed Taylor’s 69 before a very smart piece of work by Alyssa Healy saw her stumped after an attempted paddle sweep.
This precipitated something of a collapse for England as Sciver was clean-bowled for seven and Fran Wilson was unluckily adjudged lbw without scoring, an inside-edge perhaps having been missed.
That meant England had lost three wickets for nine runs but Katherine Brunt – who made her maiden ODI half-century in Thursday’s second ODI – joined Knight at the crease to try and take England up towards the 50-over mark.
Knight had been quietly scoring at a run a ball and she continued that trend, even when Brunt fell to Ashleigh Gardner and Jenny Gunn nicked behind.
The final 10 overs were all about the skipper, who went through the gears to ensure England got up to 284.
It was a fine effort from the captain, maintaining her side’s momentum when it easily could have been lost and marshalling the lower order towards a decent total.
Despite the presence of some rain the Australians began their reply and they started positively – Healy doing what comes naturally to her and attacking from the off.
She was reprieved on four when Wilson was unable to hold on to a chance at backward point and it wasn’t until the score had progressed to 118 that she was dismissed, caught Brunt, bowled Hartley, having made 71 – her highest ODI score.
By that point her opening partner Nicole Bolton had also been given two lives, one by Sciver off Hartley and once by Gunn off Sciver.
She was eventually caught at long-on by Lauren Winfield off Sophie Ecclestone to take Australia to 159-2 in the 30th over, almost neck and neck with where England had been at the same point.
Every wicket was becoming a crucial one for England with the game in the balance and two in quick succession tipped it slightly the way of the visitors.
First Ellyse Perry chipped Anya Shrubsole straight to Gunn at mid-off before Elyse Villani picked out long-off off Hartley’s next over.
That reduced Australia to 174-4 with the Southern Stars requiring 104 from 89 deliveries.
Enter the experienced duo of Rachael Haynes and Alex Blackwell – playing her 250th international.
They accumulated well before Sciver, economical all day, broke that partnership with the first ball of the last 10 overs and the pendulum swung again.
Sciver then removed the dangerous Ashleigh Gardner before Hartley held on to a caught-and-bowled chance to put England ahead of the game.
They would hold on to claim their first victory of the tour and reduce the deficit in the multi-format points series to 4-2.
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