By Glen Robertson
England ended their victorious Women’s Ashes campaign with a seven-wicket defeat to Australia in Sydney.
Playing at the impressive Stadium Australia, the tourists posted 101 for eight having been asked to bat after losing the toss.
And the hosts reached their target for the the loss of just three wickets, with nine balls to spare, as the series ended with a 10-8 victory for Charlotte Edwards’ side.
There was good news for England before the game as Jenny Gunn was passed fit to play, but Heather Knight, Anya Shrubsole and Natasha Farrant all remained on the sidelines.
Once again, Charlotte Edwards was unsuccessful in the toss and saw her side inserted to bat at the 2000 Olympics venue.
England Women changed their batting order, with Lauren Winfield opening with Edwards, but she did not manage to score before departing in the second over, caught off Rene Farrell at point after wafting at one outside off stump.
Edwards was unable to combine with Sarah Taylor to put England on top – as the pair had done so brilliantly in Hobart in the first T20I – with the skipper caught at mid-on by Nicole Bolton having made 12, with Farrell striking again.
And Lydia Greenway immediately became the bowler’s third victim, departing first ball after edging behind to Alyssa Healy.
But Farrell could not repeat the feat she managed in 2011, as Natalie Sciver successfully survived the hat-trick ball, but England were struggling on 15 for three.
Sciver and Taylor rotated the strike well as they looked to rebuild the innings, and added 34 runs in six overs before the latter was pouched by Bolton at long-on off Megan Schutt.
Arran Brindle departed for six to leave England 63 for five and Sciver, who had survived a scare when she was dropped at long-on, was run out by Alex Blackwell when trying to pick up the scoring rate.
Danni Wyatt suffered the same fate, this time Meg Lanning removing the bails, but Jenny Gunn and Danni Hazell combined to take the visitors past 100, before Farrell bowled the latter with the final ball of the innings to complete a career-best format return of 4-15.
Australia played things steady in their reply, with Healy and Elyse Villani happy to keep the scoreboard ticking over rather than go for the big shots.
The duo fell two-runs short of a fifty-partnership, when Greenway took a smart catch at midwicket off Brindle to oust Healy.
Australia skipper Meg Lanning continued her impressive series as her side kept chipping away at the total, before she fell for 23 when she picked out Sciver at deep backward-square, giving Georgia Elwiss a wicket in her first over.
While Kate Cross ran out Bolton for six, there was little danger of the tourists preventing a home win.
And in the penultimate over, Edwards was unfortunate to spill a tough return catch and Villani, who ended unbeaten on 36, scampered through for the winning run.
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