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England vs Australia second ODI, Nat Sciver-Brunt century, Georgia Wareham video, cricket news

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An unbeaten century from Nat Sciver-Brunt couldn’t prevent Australia from retaining the Women’s Ashes, with England suffering a three-run defeat in the second ODI at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday.

England fell agonisingly short of pulling off a record run chase in Southampton, with Australia taking an unassailable 8-6 lead in the multi-format series to keep possession of the coveted trophy for a fifth consecutive time.

Sciver-Brunt smacked 111 not out from 99 balls in a dazzling performance, but the 30-year-old’s heroics weren’t enough to get England over the line – the hosts needed 15 runs from the final over for a historic victory, but only managed 11.

“It was a really, really good game of cricket,” Australian captain Alyssa Healy said in the post-match press conference.

“Both sides really hung in there and Nat Sciver-Brunt, yet again, played an incredible innings. I thought she was going to take it away from us at the end.

“Full credit to our girls, they showed all their grit and determination again, and we got ourselves over the line.

“To know that the Ashes are coming home with us is hugely exciting.”

Earlier, England was set a 283-run target for victory courtesy of Ellyse Perry’s 91 (124) and a remarkable cameo from George Wareham, who smacked 26 from the final over of Australia’s innings – the second-most runs scored in an over in women’s ODIs.

Wareham’s unbeaten 37 (14) and a career-best bowling performance of 3-44 from fellow leg-spinner Alana King ensured Australia broke their three-game losing streak and retained the Ashes. However, England can tie the series at 8-8 if they win Tuesday’s third ODI in Taunton.

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Alyssa Healy and Alana King of Australia. Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images
Alyssa Healy and Alana King of Australia. Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Australian selectors gambled on four spinners for Sunday’s clash in Southampton, recalling King for the second ODI – a decision that later paid dividends.

England captain Heather Knight won the toss and elected to field first, with young seamer Lauren Bell removing both of Australia’s openers during the Powerplay.

Ellyse Perry and Beth Mooney steadied the ship with a patient 61-run partnership before England’s spinners dismantled Australia’s middle order, leaving the visitors in a spot of bother at 4-102 in the 22nd over.

Bell returned to snare her third wicket before Perry and Victorian prodigy Annabel Sutherland picked up the tempo, combining for an 81-run partnership for the sixth wicket.

However, spinner Sophie Ecclestone dismissed both of them in the 47th over, with Perry falling agonisingly short of her third ODI century, while Sutherland finished with a career-best 50 (47).

Australia registered 7-282 from their 50 overs after Wareham’s late demolition, while Bell finished with 3-85, the most expensive bowling spell for England in women’s ODIs.

Ellyse Perry of Australia. Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Wareham’s heroics continued in the run chase, with the leg-spinner knocking over England opener Sophia Dunkley with her third delivery of the day.

Tammy Beaumont brought up her half-century in 45 deliveries before King ripped the heart out of England’s top order, taking 3-15 in a game-changing spell.

After trapping the England skipper on the pads, King cleaned up Beaumont with an absolute peach that turned past the right-hander’s outside edge and flicked the top of off stump.

England was suddenly in dire straits at 5-144 when Ash Gardner claimed her first wicket in the 29th over, but Sciver-Brunt began mounting a counter-attack at the other end.

Sciver-Brunt and wicketkeeper Amy Jones combined for a 57-run partnership before Gardner struck twice in the 39th over to once again shift momentum back in Australia’s favour.

England needed 73 runs from the last ten overs, and Sciver-Brunt found an unexpected accomplice in Sarah Glenn, who finished with a career-best 22 not out.

Wareham put down a tough chance at deep mid-wicket in the penultimate over, gifting Sciver-Brunt an extra life on 97. The all-rounder brought up his sixth ODI century the following delivery, reaching the milestone in 93 deliveries.

The duo continued chipping away at the deficit, and it ultimately came down to the final delivery, with Sciver-Brunt needing four runs off Jess Jonassen to clinch a tie – but all she could manage was a lofted single towards long-on.

Heather Knight of England. Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

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“It‘s the best women’s series ever, in my opinion,” Knight said in the post-match press conference.

“We‘re disappointed … we had belief we can win.

“We can draw the series and win an ODI series, and that would be a massive achievement against this team.”

The third ODI between England and Australia gets underway in Taunton on Wednesday, with the first ball scheduled for 10pm AEST.

Australian players celebrate their victory. Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

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