Marsh sets up another England victory
England 144 (Marsh 43, Elliott 3-17, Nitschke 3-19) beat Australia 6 for 131 (Poulton 32) by 13 runs
Laura Marsh continued her strong form as England swept aside Australia again to take a 4-0 lead with a match to play in the Twenty20 series. Marsh starred for the second game in a row as England defended their 144 to secure a 13-run win at Canberra's Manuka Oval.
England had a stunning start as Marsh (43 off 28 balls) and Charlotte Edwards, who collected 15 off eight, sped out of the blocks, but the hosts fought back through the spinners Shelley Nitschke and Sarah Elliott. Nitschke removed Danielle Wyatt and Marsh on the way to 3 for 19 off four overs, while Elliott broke through the middle order with 3 for 17.
Elliott had Jenny Gunn (10) lbw and bowled Lydia Greenway, the star of the series, for 28 before dismissing Fran Wilson. That left England at 6 for 118, but the tail-enders boosted the total before the innings ended with a ball to spare.
Australia's troubles really began when they lost Leah Poulton, who top scored with 32, and Alex Blackwell in two deliveries with the score on 59. Jess Cameron fell nine runs later and despite a stand of 40 between Rachael Haynes (25) and Nitschke (22), the side was left with too much to do.
Holly Colvin ended up with 2 for 25 as Australia finished at 6 for 131. The final game of the series is in Canberra on Tuesday.
Marsh was suitably pleased with her performance and is hoping the run of form can continue. "We're delighted with another win today, it was a great team performance," she said. "We were brave with the bat and attacked from the start and I enjoyed playing with a bit of freedom.
"The bowlers did well to restrict the runs on this pitch and we upped our game in the field. We are looking forward to the final game of the series tomorrow and carrying this momentum forward into the Test match."
"England played really well again today and full credit goes to Charlotte and her team," said Australia coach Richard McInnes. "It's obviously disappointing not to get the win today; we made some changes to the team to try and find that winning formula but again we've come up just short. We need to turn things around tomorrow and finish this series with a win before we head to Sydney for the Ashes Test at Bankstown starting on Saturday."
The Ashes Test gives Australia a chance to put the misery of the Twenty20 series behind them and captain Blackwell is confident her side can spring a surprise.
"England currently hold the Ashes and we have one chance to get them back so we will be playing some good attacking cricket to do everything we can to win them back," Blackwell said.
"We've played some good one-day and Twenty20 cricket so far but there is no doubt an Ashes win would be the highlight of the summer for us," she said. "We've got half the squad from New South Wales so we're all really looking forward to getting back home and putting on a good show."