It isn’t a batting performance they will look back on overly fondly, but they will care little, for the arm-wrestle victory claimed by Australia’s women in Hove tonight was more than enough to claim the Ashes for the first time since 2010.
After batting poorly – Australia’s innings of 7 for 107 contained no score above 21 and no partnership greater than 29 – the hosts were in the box seat to take the series to a winner-takes-all decider at Cardiff on Monday.
But after the interval it was a different Australian team, the visitors’ seam bowling quartet claiming nine of England’s 10 wickets after spinner Jess Jonassen claimed the vital scalp of England’s captain Charlotte Edwards in the second over of the chase.
With England reduced to 5 for 28, Lanning was afforded the luxury to swing the changes at the bowling crease, preventing a mid-innings consolidation building into a meaningful attack on the total.rene fg
Perry (2 for 13) was supported by effective and efficient medium pace courtesy of Rene Farrell (3 for 17), Megan Schutt (2 for 18) and Sarah Coyte (1 for 12), leaving England with only two batters in double figures.
Repeating the tactic that served England well in winning the first Twenty20 rubber of the series just two days before Edwards was more than happy to ask Australia to once again bat first, on a surface that looked worn and tired.
This call looked astute after another slow start, the bowling pair of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole negating Australia’s six-over power play off the top of the innings with just 1 for 19 accrued; 25 of the 36 balls passing without score.
Perry – who also opens the batting in the shortest form of the game – survived an infield chip not going to hand early, but wasn’t so lucky the second time, caught in the fourth over for 7.
Brunt’s contest with Lanning loomed as defining, the latter able to dissect the packed off-side field on the third attempt, giving the impression of a player back in form.
But after failing to free the arms following some tight spin bowling, the captain fell swinging across the line, adjudged LBW to Rebecca Grundy’s left arm spin for 21, a score two later equalled but no one bettered.
Danni Hazell, the world’s top ranked T20 bowler, got her own reward an over later when Elyse Villani (15) fell in identical fashion.
When Grundy had Alex Blackwell (2) caught and bowled to begin the next over, Australia had lost 3 for 8 in 11 balls and the tourists were reeling at 3 for 51.
Down the list Jonassen showed composure to keep the board ticking over, looking the batter most likely to boost Australia’s total to more than a run a ball before Brunt ran her out in her follow through with a committed piece of ground fielding.
Shrubsole struck again as soon as she was reintroduced – the big hitting Grace Harris (14) the third trapped in front playing across the line – finishing with the outstanding bowling analysis of 2 for 9 from her four overs, including 17 dot balls.