Another week, another Ashes win. Like the men before them, England's women have defeated their Australian counterparts emphatically, with this, their fourth victory in four matches, confirming them to be uncatchable in the multi-format series.
"I probably can't describe how proud I am," said captain Charlotte Edwards after her side completed a five-wicket win against the current world champions in front of a crowd of over 8,000 in Southampton.
It had looked an unlikely prospect when, facing an Australia total that seemed at least 20 runs light, England were reduced to 9 for 3 in the third over, with star batter Sarah Taylor dismissed for just two, but an outstanding innings of 80 not out by Lydia Greenway off just 64 balls saw her side home with an over to spare.
"It was probably the best one-day innings I've ever seen," said Edwards, which considering she has played 172 ODIs and 64 T20 internationals, is some compliment.
Greenway did have one moment of fortune, when Australia captain and wicketkeeper Jodie Fields should have stumped the Kent batter when she came down the pitch to off-spinner Erin Osborne and was beaten by a turning delivery.
Greenway was on just 10 at the time, but Fields did not even get a glove on the ball and thereafter she did not play a false shot. Every Australia bowler suffered, with pace bowler Ellyse Perry clipped and pulled for legside boundaries, but it was appropriate that Greenway went to her half-century with a paddle sweep to fine-leg off Sarah Coyte. It was very hard to understand Fields' lack of reaction when Greenway went on to play the shot time and again, occasionally reversing her grip and switch hitting, but never missing.
With two points awarded for the win, it means England now lead Australia by 10 points to four, with just two points to play for in the final T20 at Durham tomorrow.
"It was another great team performance and I'm so pleased we didn't leave it until Durham," said Greenway. "We've gone out in the last few days and done ourselves really proud. We had to dig in a bit, but we didn't panic and rebuilt well."
That Greenway, supported by Edwards, had time to do that was down to an excellent bowling performance after Fields had won the toss and decided to bat. Yorkshire seamer Katherine Brunt bowled with splendid accuracy in conceding just 15 runs from her four overs, and Durham off-spinner Danni Hazell was more miserly still, taking 2 for 11.
Only Meg Lanning, who had reached 60 off 53 balls before she was run out when Hazell's deflection of Alex Blackwell's drive on to the stumps left her stranded, looked capable of lifting Australia to the sort of total likely to put England under real pressure.
"Winning the Ashes is massively important," said the England and Wales Cricket Board head of women's cricket, Clare Connor. "It's been a true test over the three formats of the game, and it means a huge amount to everyone who has played a part."Reuse content