Sciver-Brunt stars as England claim ODI series win to close Women’s Ashes

Australia suffered a first one-day international series defeat since 2013 as England won by 69 runs (DLS) in the third ODI at Taunton, levelling the Women’s Ashes series.

Australia still retain the Ashes – clinched with their win in Sunday’s second ODI – by virtue of the fact that they’re the current holders, but England’s latest success in Somerset ties the multi-format series at eight points apiece.

Nat Sciver-Brunt (129) again starred with the bat for the hosts, this time in a winning cause, striking a second-straight hundred and fourth in her last five ODI meetings with Australia.

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Nat Sciver-Brunt hit her fourth hundred in her last five innings against Australia as England looked to post a mammoth total

Sciver-Brunt shared in a record 147-run partnership in ODIs against Australia with skipper Heather Knight (67) after England had stumbled to 12-2 in their opening four overs. That, as well as a quick-fire 43 off 25 balls from Danni Wyatt saw, the home side post 285-9 from their 50 overs.

Australia’s chase was interrupted by rain two balls into the 20th over when 97-3 and, set a revised target of 269 from 44 overs upon the restart, the visitors ultimately subsided to 199 all out in the 36th.

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Kate Cross took the pivotal wicket of Ellyse Perry as she departed for 53 before Beth Mooney went soon after

Ellyse Perry (53) ticked off a 31st ODI half-century shortly after play resumed but the game swung wildly in England’s favour when Kate Cross (3-48) claimed her and Beth Mooney (16) in back-to-back overs.

Ashleigh Gardner came in and cracked an electric 41 from 24 deliveries before being run out, while Amy Jones produced a marvellous, lightning-quick stumping to see off Georgia Wareham (14).

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Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner smashed 41 off just 24 balls before being run out by England’s Danni Wyatt

Annabel Sutherland – who scored a hundred in what proved to be a pivotal series-opening Test win for Australia – was the tourists’ last remaining hope but was bowled by Charlie Dean (2-37) for 18 and the tail then quickly subsided as England secured a second-straight white-ball series success following their 2-1 triumph in the T20s.

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Tammy Beaumont and Sophia Dunkley fell in the first four overs, leaving England 12-2 in the third ODI

That didn’t look on the cards when, having been put into bat by Alyssa Healy on a belting batting track, the badly out-of-nick Sophia Dunkley perished for two and Tammy Beaumont (4) was bowled by an inswinger from Megan Schutt (1-34) in the opening four overs.

Sciver-Brunt and Knight brilliantly rebuilt, both bringing up half-centuries within an over of each other, though Sciver-Brunt should have fallen shortly after for 54 but was dropped by Tahlia McGrath off her own bowling.

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Nat Sciver-Brunt and Heather Knight both brought up their fifties as England looked to post a challenging total for Australia to chase

Instead, the pair notched a record partnership and Sciver-Brunt improved her career ODI average against Australia to an astonishing 62.37 with her fourth hundred in five games against the seven-time world champions in the format.

Alana King (1-62) eventually accounted for Knight, while Alice Capsey (5) went cheaply, holing out to long on. But Sciver-Brunt found another willing partner in Wyatt, however, who struck four boundaries and two sixes in her dazzling cameo.

Gardner (3-39) eventually bowled Wyatt to open the 45th over and Jess Jonassen (3-30) did for Sciver-Brunt in the 48th as England’s innings somewhat limped to a finish.

But it was to prove a match-winning total, albeit the hosts were admittedly helped by the rain and the adjusted target that Australia were dealt upon the resumption.

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Australia lost Phoebe Litchfield and Alyssa Healy within 13 balls as they made a poor start to chasing 286

The tourists also lost both openers cheaply, Lauren Bell (2-53) picking up Phoebe Litchfield (1) caught at slip and Cross bowling Healy (7) through the gate, but though McGrath (26) became Jones’ first stumping victim of the day – off Ecclestone (1-21) – Perry and Mooney looked to be going along nicely when the rain arrived.

Once Perry perished soon after the restart, so did Australia’s hopes of an outright series win.

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England beat Australia by 69 runs in the third ODI at Taunton as the Women’s Ashes was drawn 8-8

Knight: Two trophies against Australia really special

England captain Heather Knight:

“Hugely pleased, it’s a draw isn’t it, and we’ve got two trophies against the world champions, which is really special.

“I think the way that the group has turned it around after the Ageas Bowl, it was a pretty quiet bus journey, on the way here there was a lot of emotion and disappointment that the Ashes had slipped away, but I think credit to the group, and to the staff, the way they’ve turned it around and really turned up today.

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England captain Heather Knight reflected on her team’s win over Australia in their third ODI and believes that they still have a lot of room for improvement

“We wanted to continue playing how we had all series. We wanted to entertain and inspire this crowd that had come out to support us. We owed it to everyone to try to do that, and obviously, there was a lot on the line still.

“So I’m hugely impressed by how the girls have done that and very happy to be finishing with a draw.”

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Despite missing out on regaining the Women’s Ashes, England head coach Jon Lewis was nonetheless proud of the effort his side have put in this summer

Healy: Losing ODI series but retaining Ashes feels ‘dirty’

Australia captain Alyssa Healy:

“It’s a little bit bittersweet, and it feels a little bit dirty in a way, but in saying that, we got the result we were after.

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Despite losing the T20 and ODI series, Australia captain Alyssa Healy was nonetheless pleased to retain the Women’s Ashes after a drawn series with England

“I’ve actually never really been a believer in the gap [between the sides], so you’re probably asking the wrong person. I think the gap has not necessarily been there as much as everyone has spoken about.

“The way that England have come out and played in this series, suggests that they’re playing some really good, confident cricket and they’re going to push any side in the world.”

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After retaining the Women’s Ashes, Australia’s celebrations were cut short by the smoke generated from the fireworks!

Gardner: Not winning ‘sucks’ | ‘England outplayed us’

Australia’s Player of the Ashes, Ash Gardner:

“It’s a little bit bittersweet obviously standing here retaining the Ashes.

“Credit to England, of course, they outplayed us and have played a pretty fearless brand of cricket which is something that we should look at for our team as well.

“It’s obviously nice to contribute individually but unfortunately as a team we couldn’t string this series together, and it didn’t go our way. England were the better side throughout the series, and bring on the next Ashes.

“It sucks. Of course we came over here to win the Ashes. Retaining it’s great, but I guess that’s probably a little bit negative, we wanted to come over here and win it. And of course, we were in positions to win the Ashes, and we probably didn’t show enough fight where we needed to.”

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Mel Jones, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Lydia Greenway and Charles Dagnall review the Women’s Ashes and discuss whether it’s been the best-ever series

Women’s Ashes results (2 pts for white-ball win, 4 for Test)

Watch day one of the fourth men’s Ashes Test from Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports Cricket on Wednesday. Build-up from 10am, first ball at 11am. You can stream the men’s Ashes series on NOW.

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