England survived a few scares and a determined Australian assault with the ball to win the second Test at Worcester by six wickets. It was their first victory over Australia since December 1984, and after 42 years it meant that England regained the Ashes.
Set a modest target of 76 in two-and-a-bit sessions, Australia reduced England to 4 for 2 in four overs before lunch, Emma Liddell removing Laura Newton and Jenny Gunn with successive deliveries. Charlotte Edwards and Clare Connor weathered all that Liddell and Cathryn Fitzpatrick threw at them after the break, but just as nerves were beginning to settle, Fitzpatrick dismissed them both within an over to leave England 39 for 4.
With Claire Taylor incapacitated with a muscle strain, much depended on Arran Brindle and she responded with a determined 24 not out, as England eked out the runs.
"We've been watching the guys and been inspired by their fight and the way they're playing," Connor told BBC Sport. "After the disappointment of losing in the semi-finals of the World Cup to Australia only four or five months ago, this is just amazing. The girls are over the moon. It just means the world to us If the media give us some positive exposure on the back of this achievement it will do heaps for women's cricket."
Katherine Brunt , who took nien wickets in the match and chippe din with a vital first-innings 52, was named Player of the Match and Player of the Series. "It's a great feeling to win after so many years of losing to Australia and for me to pull out my best performance since I've been with England is great," she beamed.
Australia resumed on 179 for 7, although England would have had the nagging memory that in the first Test at Hove their last three wickets added 240 runs. Any fears of a repetition were quickly extinghuised when Kate Blackwell was caught by Lydia Greenway off Brunt without addition to her overnight score. Blackwell had batted five hours and faced 284 balls for her 72. With her next ball Brunt trapped Julia Price leg-before and the end was in sight.
But Shelley Nitschke (88*) and Liddell (24) stubbornly clung on, putiing on 53 for the last wicket before Beth Morgan ended their resistance, although as they found out, there was still work to be done.