Charlotte Edwards, the England captain, believes there is no need to panic despite a second successive defeat to Australia following a pulsating finale in Hobart.
Needing 70 from the final eight overs to stay alive in the series after the tourists had posted a testing target of 269, Australia managed it with three balls and four wickets to spare, thanks to a blistering partnership between Ellyse Perry and Erin Osborne, who finished unbeaten on 90 and 40 respectively.
The defeat denied England the chance to wrap up the Ashes, having also lost in Melbourne on Thursday; but with an 8-4 advantage going into the three Twenty20 internationals – each worth two points – Edwards is confident that they will finish the job.
“We’re still in a good position. We’ve just lost two games but it works in our favour that we’re playing a different format,” she said. “We didn’t do too much wrong. The difference was one of their players went on to a big score. We won’t dwell on this too much.”
After winning the toss, England looked set for a huge total at the halfway stage of their innings, having reached 117 for 1 thanks to 57 from opener Heather Knight. Sarah Taylor’s 64 from 57 balls and a quickfire 43 not out from Natalie Sciver eventually saw them post a formidable 268-4 from their 50 overs.
That seemed plenty when Australia lost their sixth wicket with just 199 on the board, with Jenny Gunn having picked up three early scalps. But after a stunning comeback that included a six from Perry in the penultimate over, an edge from the bat of Osborne off Sciver’s bowling ensured Wednesday’s Twenty20 in Hobart takes on crucial importance.