England 152 for 6 (Sciver 40, Brunt 32*, Taylor 30, Schutt 2-16) beat Australia 112 (Healy 24, Gunn 4-13, Brunt 2-10) by 40 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
The Ashes may have been lost but England gave themselves a chance of salvaging a Twenty20 series victory with a comprehensive defeat of Australia in the second match at Manuka Oval in Canberra, driven largely by the efforts of Nat Sciver, Katherine Brunt and Jenny Gunn.
Australia's power in the shortest format had been emphasised by Beth Mooney's innings in their thrashing of the visitors in the first T20 at North Sydney Oval, the result that ensured they would retain the urn. But England's busy approach with the bat was followed up by a sharp display in the field, which absorbed a swift opening by Mooney and Alyssa Healy then ushered the collapse of the rest.
Brunt's allround display was outstanding, adding 2 for 10 from four immaculate overs to an unbeaten 32 that featured a pair of sixes. But she had plenty of assistance, notably in the form of Sciver's top order contribution, and Gunn's persistent line and changes of pace that gave her four wickets. Sarah Taylor, too, was useful with the bat and then typically polished behind the stumps.
Batting first in the Sunday afternoon fixture, England looked to be stuttering slightly when Dannelle Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont were both out inside the first seven overs while scoring at little more than six an over. However Sciver and Taylor were able to not only form a partnership but also advance the scoring rate in a manner that put pressure back on Australia's bowlers.
After the captain Heather Knight could stay in the middle only briefly, it was Brunt who dominated the closing overs, combining plenty of hustle between the wickets with the occasional meaty blow. Megan Schutt returned to claim a second wicket in the final over, finishing wiht excellent analysis of 2 for 16 to maintain her outstanding series, but England were comfortably able to pass the 150 mark.
Mooney and Healy began as though they intended to make short work of the target, rattling along to 45 inside six overs before a run out turned the game. Mooney chanced a quick single to mid off, but Gunn was able to aim and throw with pinpoint accuracy to hit the stumps and send the left-hander on her way.
Next over Elyse Villani was brilliantly stumped by Taylor off Brunt, and when Healy failed to clear long on the Australians were in free-fall. Ellyse Perry's innings was ended by a drag onto the stumps, and from there it was more or less a case of mopping up operations for England's bowlers, a task completed with two overs to spare.
The final match of the series takes place at Manuka under lights on Tuesday.