Last-ball win secures England series
England 151 for 8 (Atkins 35) beat Australia 150 for 8 (Ebsary 40) by two wickets
In a breathless finish, Laura Marsh was dropped off the final ball as she hit the two runs needed to secure England their first one-day series win against Australia since 1976 with a two-wicket win at Stratford. After the game was reduced to 29 overs per side by overnight storms Australia battled to reach 150, and were looking favourites after Ellyse Perry removed Claire Taylor and Charlotte Edwards, but England have that winning habit and squeezed home at the end.
The result continues England's recent domination after their World Cup and World Twenty20 titles with their only slip being the one-off Twenty20 defeat to Australia before this series. Australia now have to pick themselves up for the final two matches before they try to recapture the Ashes in a one-off Test.
"It was a really special day for us as a team, we have created history and it is amazing thing to be part of," captain Charlotte Edwards, back after illness, said. "Today was a solid team performance and it was great to see our lower order batters performing when it counted.
"This is the first time in 33 years that England has beaten Australia in a one-day international series. Australia are our strongest rivals. To me today is as special as our two World Cup wins."
After being put in, the visitors found batting tricky with Nicky Shaw claiming Shelley Nitschke for a duck in the second over and soon followed that with Leah Poulton's wicket. When Karen Rolton was bowled by Katherine Brunt, Australia were rocking on 23 for 3 but the innings was stabilised by Lisa Sthalekar and Lauren Ebsary as they added 79 for the fourth wicket.
England's spinners pulled the run-rate back with Holly Colvin and Beth Morgan taking two apiece, but Perry clubbed a useful 16 off nine balls to lift the total to 150.
Perry then made an impact with the ball as the home side slipped to 73 for 4 after Caroline Atkins' 35 had given them a solid foundation. All the middle chipped in with contributions but the run-outs of Morgan and Ebony Rainford-Brent kept Australia in the game.
As wickets fell at regular intervals Marsh joined Jenny Gunn at 133 for 8 with 18 still needed. It was a tense finish as Nitschke bowled the final over, but Marsh proved the hero as she swung the last delivery through the infield to set off more England celebrations.
"I am very proud to be part of this fantastic achievement", coach Mark Lane said. "Today everyone contributed to produce a victory that sealed the series. Our on field success demonstrates the hard work and unity of the team and our support staff."