Australia will need to wait longer to retain the women’s Ashes after England handed them their first loss in almost two years with a three-run Twenty20 defeat at The Oval.
Chasing 187 for victory to retain the Ashes, Ellyse Perry gave Australia some late hope with an unbeaten 51 from 27 balls, but Australia spent most of the innings behind the needed run-rate before finishing on 9-183.
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The result ended Australia’s world record 29-match undefeated run in T20 internationals, and marked their first defeat in any format since September 2021.
It also means the multi-format series is still alive, with England needing to win the last T20 match on Saturday and all three ensuing ODIs to regain the Ashes.
Otherwise, victory for Australia in any of those matches will ensure they retain the trophy.
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The result came despite the best efforts of Annabel Sutherland, who took 3-28 with the ball to continue her fine Ashes series.
A centurion batting at No.8 in the Test match at Trent Bridge last month, Sutherland did the job with the ball on Wednesday.
Alyssa Healy’s wicket doomed Australia’s run chase. Credit: Getty
She first had a charging Alice Capsey caught when she made her reach for a bouncer, before getting Heather Knight next delivery with a ball that took the top of off stump.
Sutherland then got the job done in the field with a superb forward-diving catch in the deep, before taking the key wicket of Danni Wyatt in her next over for 79.
England’s score was their highest in T20 cricket against Australia, and could have been far higher if not for Sutherland.
On a big night for the women’s game in England with 20,328 fans in attendance, Wyatt led the way for the hosts.
She was easily their best, leading the way in a 57-run opening stand with Sophia Dunkley (23).
England players celebrate a wicket in their thrilling three-run T20 win over Australia at The Oval. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP
She helped take 25 off one Megan Schutt over, and brought up her half-century off 36 balls when she pulled Perry (1-5) for four.
Australia’s chase then looked doomed once Alyssa Healy was bowled for 37 by Sarah Glenn (2-27) in the seventh over.
Tahlia McGrath was run out in a mix-up with Beth Mooney soon after, as part of a collapse of 4-16.
And when spinner Sophie Ecclestone (2-35) became the fastest woman to reach 100 T20I wickets when she had Asheligh Gardner caught-and-bowled, England were on top.
Perry managed to get the margin down to 31 runs off two overs and 20 off one, before sixes off the final two balls made the scoreline look closer than the game truly was.
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