Twitter Reactions: Australia hold their nerves in Southampton to retain Women's Ashes in thrilling finish
Alyssa Healy-led Australia beat England by three runs in a thrilling second ODI in the Women's Ashes.
After losing the one-off Test and the first T20I, England managed to claw their way back into the Women's Ashes with wins in two consecutive T20Is and the first of the three-match ODI series. With the two teams tied at six points apiece, there was all to play for when the arch-rivals collided in Southampton on Sunday, July 16 for the second ODI.
Heather Knight won the toss and asked Australia to have a bat first. Lauren Bell got England off to a fine start as she dismissed Aussie captain Alyssa Healy and her fellow opener Phoebe Litchfield inside the first six overs. Ellyse Perry starred with the bat as she scored a wonderfully-crafted 91 off 124 runs. She formed three important 50+ partnerships with Beth Mooney (33 off 42), Ashleigh Gardner (33 off 37), and Annabel Sutherland (50 off 47) during her knock.
England did well to take wickets at regular intervals and didn't allow the visitors to get their noses in front. However, with the score at 240/7 in 47 overs, Georgia Wareham took the onus on herself to help her side finish strongly. In the next three overs, Australia scored 42 runs with 26 of them coming off the 50th over bowled by Bell. Wareham finished with a sparkling 14-ball 37 with the help of three fours and as many sixes.
Chasing 283 for a victory, England got off to a flying start courtesy of Tammy Beaumont. She scored an enterprising 62-ball 60, even as she watched the wickets of Sophia Dunkley and captain Heather Knight falling from the other end. Alice Capsey and Danielle Wyatt departed cheaply but Nat Sciver-Brunt held the innings together, and she found able support in the form of wicketkeeper Amy Jones.
After Jones departed for 37, the big-hitting Sophie Ecclestone departed for one. With England in dire straits at 203/7, Sciver-Brunt and Sarah Glenn stitched a magnificent partnership of 76 runs. The former reached her century in the process. With 15 runs required off the last over, the Australia skipper, Alyssa Healy, handed the ball to Jess Jonassen. With five runs required off the last ball, Sciver-Brunt failed to time the slog-sweep as the fielder at long-on kept it down to a single. Post the win, Alana King was awarded Player of the Match for finishing with 3/44 in 10 overs.
With this thrilling win, the defending champions Australia went 8-6 ahead in the points table and retained the Women's Ashes. The last ODI will be played on Tuesday, July 18.