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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Nonchalant Taylor keeps England's Ashes hopes alive

England Women 125 for 3 (Taylor 50, Edwards 39) beat Australia Women 122 for 8 (Perry 30, Sciver 2-18) by seven wickets
Scorecard

A fresh - if familiar - format, some new colours, a couple of new faces and a return to a favourite old venue was all it took to freshen England up and keep the Ashes alive.

After a torrid Test match that saw little go right for England, there was still the chance of winning the Ashes overall in a series where they are decided by virtue of points gained in all three formats.

Charlotte Edwards' side ticked boxes aplenty: their fielding - with three sharp run outs, a series of fine dives in the deep, and some excellent catching - returned to the spectacular level achieved in the series opener at Taunton, Edwards was more tactically astute, and, crucially, Sarah Taylor - fresh from a pair in the Test match at Canterbury - enjoyed a timely return to form with the bat, that characteristic insouciance and those rubbery wrists back as she notched a nonchalant half-century.

Even the promotion of the brutalist Katherine Brunt to No 5 worked, as she boshed 12 from Ellyse Perry's final over to help England home with 15 balls to spare; her 21 from 10 balls was just her third double-figure score in twenty T20I innings.

This bumptious Australian side - whose run of 16 consecutive T20I victories comes to an end with this defeat - seldom seem cowed. But with a partisan packed house cheering the hosts on, they were unable to recover from a sluggish start having been inserted.

Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole were immediately into their groove, and England were particularly lively in the field, with both Danielles - Wyatt and Hazell - making impressive early contributions. But Australia were passive in the opening powerplay, which included 22 dot balls for the loss of Elyse Villani, whose leading edge off Shrubsole's fifth ball - a slower one - fell simply back to the bowler.

Australia's start was slow, but their two strongest batsmen, Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning, were set. As if to demonstrate that point, Lanning swept Jenny Gunn's first delivery - the first after the powerplay - for six. The introduction of Hazell, however, tied the pair down. Her first over went for one, before Lanning drove straight and hit Hazell square on the leg, and two dot balls later she slogged a rank full toss to deep square-leg, where Lydia Greenway took a sharp catch.

Gunn failed to pick up a Perry miscue off Hazell's next over and shelled the catch, but the drop was worth just a slogged four to cow and a single, as Nat Sciver's first ball saw Perry bowled off the pad by a full one.

Wickets fell steadily from that point. Canterbury hero Jess Jonassen was deceived by Sciver's slower ball, and then, as Australia took on risky singles, the run outs began. Youngster Grace Harris was dismissed by a direct hit when backing up, Alyssa Healy by a fired up Brunt, and Erin Osborne by sharp work from Greenway. Between times, Alex Blackwell lofted Gunn's first ball back to cover, and tight bowling meant runs were hard to come by.

A target of 123 was underpar, but with a dewy outfield, a quality attack, and an English order prone to indecision, was eminently defendable. But Australia - particularly in the middle overs - bowled an ugly set of half-trackers and full tosses, and dropped both Edwards and Taylor, who shared 77 after Perry had Lauren Winfield caught at mid-on in her second over.

The pair bristled with intent in the powerplay, as Megan Schutt once again made the ball talk. Taylor unleashed her ramp to Perry and used her feet to Sarah Coyte's seam, while Edwards showed off that classical cover drive and flick to midwicket out, too. Australia had their chances, with Villani dropping Edwards on 19 at mid-off, and Coyte shelling a low caught and bowled off Taylor on 34.

Both batsmen were eventually stumped by Healy, Edwards sharply and Taylor easily, but by then the damage was done, as hard-hitting cameos from Sciver and Brunt ensured victory. England must do this twice more, of course, and if the Ashes are to be retained, they will have to do it away from their happy hunting ground, where they have now won six from six.

ENG Women 2nd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st5CM EdwardsL Winfield
2nd77CM EdwardsSJ Taylor
3rd22SJ TaylorNR Sciver
4th21KH BruntNR Sciver