Australia v England, women's T20, Melbourne January 31, 2014

Lanning helps maintain Australia pride

Australia 3 for 99 (Lanning 42) beat England 6 for 98 (Ferling 2-14) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Australia raced their way to a straightforward victory over England in the second T20, as captain Meg Lanning's speedy 42 off 28 balls set them up. An England bowling attack weakened by injuries, with Jenny Gunn, Anya Shrubsole and Tash Farrant all ruled out for the rest of the series, was punished by the Australia top order as England struggled to defend their total of 98 runs.

Australia lost their first wicket on 25, as Danielle Hazell clean bowled Ellyse Villani, attempting a cut shot to a ball that spun back in to her. Lanning, though, showed clear intent from the beginning, hitting the third ball she faced for four through midwicket, and continuing to dominate with the bat. Her innings, which included five fours, was epitomised by the six she hit driving Natalie Sciver's first ball of the day straight over the top.

Australia's 50 came up in 48 balls and Lanning and Alyssa Healy continued from there to accumulate runs at a rate of almost eight an over. England, searching for a way to control the batsmen, badly missed the medium pace of Gunn, with spinner Hazell the only bowler to consistently restrict the Australians, conceding only 11 runs off her 4 overs. The effectiveness of Arran Brindle, brought into the attack in the 13th over, whose 2 overs went for just 9 runs, only served to underline England's dilemma.

There was a brief stutter from Australia with victory in sight. In the 14th over, with just five runs needed, Georgia Elwiss finally removed Lanning, having her caught by Greenway at deep midwicket. Brindle was also rewarded with a wicket, as Jess Cameron played a slower ball on to her stumps for a duck. But the breakthroughs came far too late. Healy, promoted to open in this game and finishing on 37 off 43 balls, clipped the winning single to deep square leg in the first ball of the 16th over. The win was Australia's best, in terms of balls remaining, against England.

Such a margin was down to England's distinctly below-par score after Australia won the toss and chose to bowl. Holly Ferling, back in the side after her omission from the first T20, struck in her first over to remove Danielle Wyatt, who was bowled for a two-ball duck, chopping the ball on to her stumps. Ferling followed that up with another wicket in her third over, bowling Sarah Taylor with a quicker ball, leaving her with figures of 2 for 14 off her 3 overs and the Player of the Match award.

England staged a limited recovery, as Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway remained together for a partnership of 23 runs off 25 balls, until Ellyse Perry removed Greenway in the 9th over, having her caught chipping it up to mid-on. From there, it was an uphill battle for England, as they struggled to score runs and were further restricted by the loss of wickets throughout. Sciver faced nine balls for her 4 before being trapped lbw by Jess Jonassen, attempting to sweep. Osborne then had Edwards, the key wicket, caught and bowled for 28.

There was unlikely to be a way back from 5 for 62 and so it proved, with just one boundary coming off the final 10 overs of the England innings, as spinners Jonassen (1-17) and Osborne (1-19) bowled in conjunction to contain the batsmen. Frustratingly, Brindle and Amy Jones looked content to run easy singles in the last seven overs, as the two of them remained at the crease but managed a partnership of only 35 off 41 balls.

Jones was finally out for 14, trying to hit out against Rene Farrell as the ball swung back in to take her off stump, leaving Lauren Winfield, playing in her first Ashes encounter, to face the last ball of the innings. It was a distinctly lacklustre performance from England with the bat, the fight seemingly gone out of them in the wake of their series victory in Hobart. But credit must also be given to Australia's bowlers, whose efforts to restrict England to below 100 were superb. If Australia were playing for nothing but pride, they can certainly take pride in this performance.

Raf Nicholson is a PhD student, an England supporter, a feminist, and fanatical about women's cricket. She tweets here

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