England prevail in last-ball finish
England 226 for 8 (Edwards 65, Greenway 50, Andrews 4-50) beat Australia 225 for 7 (Nitschke 71, Rolton 52) by two wickets
England held their nerve for the second time in three days to win another last-ball thriller at Wormsley and took a 4-0 lead against Australia in the five-match encounter. Laura Marsh had seen her side through to a series win during a tense finish at Stratford on Friday and she was in the middle again, holding her nerve for the victory. The groundwork for the win, though, had been laid by Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway, both of whom scored half-centuries.
Australia, riding on Shelly Nitschke's fifty, had achieved a total of 226 for 8 and their bowlers had started brightly, taking three wickets for 14 runs to reduce England to 78 for 4. The chase was revived by Edwards and Greenway, who scored 65 and 50 respectively and added 113 for the fifth wicket to put the chase back on track.
Just when England were securing control, though, Australia struck a quick double blow, running out Edwards before Sarah Andrews bowled Jenny Gunn first ball. The chase hit the rocks shortly afterwards when Andrews got past the defences of Greenway as well, leaving England with 24 runs to get and only three wickets in hand. That was reduced to two as Andrews picked up her fourth wicket, that of Katherine Brunt with the score on 209.
Laura Marsh and Holly Colvin began their small yet invaluable stand when England needed 17 more to get. Marsh scored a run-a-ball 14 while Colvin chipped in with 8 off 7 deliveries to see England over the line off the final ball.
The result overshadowed a fine innings from Nitschke, the Player of the Match, one that rescued Australia from a disastrous start. A pink ball was being used for the first time in an international match - as part of the Pink Sunday programme in support of the Breast Cancer Campaign - and Brunt struck with her second delivery to remove Leah Poulton. She dealt the Australian innings another severe blow by bowling Alex Blackwell with the very next ball. The prospect of such a close finish was a distant thought with Australia on 0 for 2 and it needed Nitschke, who scored 71 with nine boundaries, and Karen Rolton, who made 52, to steer them to a competitive target.