Women’s Ashes: England v Australia, third one-day international – live

Key events

The covers are coming off! Though not all that fast. The main cover, shaped like a roof, is red, and the others are white, so it looks as if a red house has drowned in a sea of sheets.

Something to read while we wait for the covers to come off.

Who’s winning?

This is cricket, for God’s sake – nobody is winning. But … if the rain turns out to be worse than it looks (but allows another four balls), England are winning on Duckworth-Lewis. And if we get close to a full 50 overs, I’d say Australia are winning, just, because they’ve got a genius in their ranks, she’s already eased her way to 45 not out, and she has the air of a woman who will not be stopped.

Rain stops play! Australia 97-3 in the 20th over

And they’re off, pursued by optimistic noises from the commentators. “It’s not heavy rain at all,” says Nick Knight.

“The good thing,” says Lydia Greenway, “is that it’s quite windy.”

Rain stops play.
Rain stops play. Photograph: Graham Hunt/ProSports/Shutterstock

19th over: Australia 96-3 (Perry 44, Mooney 8) The Aussies are behind on Duckworth-Lewis and Perry seems to be aware of it. She steps out and drives Dean, hitting the ball so cleanly that extra-cover might as well not be there.

18th over: Australia 88-3 (Perry 38, Mooney 7) A rare bad ball from Ecclestone, who drags one down and sees Perry give it the treatment it deserves: an imperious pull. Ecclestone’s figures are still very good, 5-0-13-1. But it’s beginning to rain…

17th over: Australia 83-3 (Perry 33, Mooney 7) I don’t know what Charlie Dean had for drinks, but I want some. Her second over is much tighter – four dots to Mooney and then just a single to each batter.

16th over: Australia 81-3 (Perry 32, Mooney 6) After conceding three runs off her first 18 balls, Ecclestone goes for four off one. Beth Mooney, so strong on the sweep, has no trouble steering a lap past the fielder on the 45. And that’s drinks, with this game, like the one-day series, in fact the whole Ashes, beautifully poised.

15th over: Australia 76-3 (Perry 32, Mooney 1) Knight takes Sciver-Brunt off and turns to Charlie Dean, who has come in because of Sarah Glenn’s appendix (get well Sarah, in case you happen to be reading this from your hospital bed). Ellyse Perry sees the chance to lord it over Dean, playing a cover-drive for four and a square drive for two. Her 32 runs have come, ominously for England, off only 34 balls.

14th over: Australia 68-3 (Perry 25, Mooney 0) So after three overs, Sophie Ecclestone has one for three. And it turns out that those wides from Sciver-Brunt were a cunning plan, designed to get Amy Jones up to full sharpness.

WICKET! McGrath st Jones b Ecclestone 26 (Australia 68-3)

Excellence pays off! Tahlia McGrath gets frustrated, gives Ecclestone the charge, tries a big drive, misses, and sportingly walks as Amy Jones whips off the bails.

13th over: Australia 67-2 (Perry 24, McGrath 26) After playing second fiddle for a while, Perry suddenly picks up her guitar. She plays a powerful cut off Sciver-Brunt, who rather loses her way in this over, bowling two big wides down the leg side that Amy Jones does well to gather in. Ten off the over, Australia back on top.

12th over: Australia 57-2 (Perry 18, McGrath 25) More excellence from Ecclestone, who thinks about a review for LBW as McGrath is struck in front of leg stump, but it was going down. Another one-run over, so these two have got the plug in.

11th over: Australia 56-2 (Perry 17, McGrath 25) With senior bowlers at both ends, the batters seem happy to be more circumspect. This over from Sciver-Brunt goes for three with McGrath stroking a two into the covers. She’s done well at finding the gaps from the start, whereas England didn’t really do that until Danni Wyatt came in.

10th over: Australia 53-2 (Perry 16, McGrath 23) It’s a double change as Bell gives way to Sophie Ecclestone, who may well hold the key to this game. She starts almost immaculately with five dots and a single.

9th over: Australia 52-2 (Perry 15, McGrath 23) A change of bowling as Cross is replaced by Nat Sciver-Brunt. There’s no rest for the gifted: she was out there for 43 overs with the bat, and now she’s expected to chip in with the ball. She starts well, conceding only three singles and almost getting through McGrath’s defensive prod with a nice outswinger.

8th over: Australia 49-2 (Perry 13, McGrath 22) Another cracking shot from McGrath, who gets a perfectly decent ball from Bell and cover-drives it on the up for four more. England need to get her out sharpish.

7th over: Australia 40-2 (Perry 11, McGrath 17) If you didn’t know that Perry was an all-time great, you might think McGrath was the senior partner. She has about one-eighth as many ODI runs in her locker as Perry, but she’s outscoring her two to one so far. She plays two cuts off Cross in this over that make you wonder if, in a former life, she operated the guillotine.

6th over: Australia 32-2 (Perry 11, McGrath 9) Bell, still swinging it in, goes more fourth-stumpish, which is surely the place to be. Perry cuts one that comes in to cramp her and very nearly chops on! Next ball she plays a better shot, a crisp on-drive, which goes straight to the woman at mid-on … and straight through her. It’s Kate Cross, so maybe she was switching off between overs.

5th over: Australia 27-2 (Perry 7, McGrath 8) McGrath continues to look composed, facing Cross and playing a back-foot push into the covers with lovely timing.

“G’day, Tim!” G’day to you, Sarah Bacon. “Pre-match punditry from the on-field experts predicted a 280-300 score would be desirable from Ingerland, based on conditions/desire/all that palaver. One thing I do know is: the Aussies will want to finish this series with a bang not a whimper. I think they just need to get piling on runs ASAP … while losing as few wickets as possible.” The eternal trade-off.

4th over: Australia 23-2 (Perry 7, McGrath 5) Bell is swinging it in to the right-hander, which is fine by Perry. As Sky show with a mini-montage, she scores twice as fast when the ball is on middle or leg than when it’s on or outside off. She plays a lofted clip for two now, but otherwise shows a bit of respect to Bell’s pace – and Australia’s predicament.

3rd over: Australia 21-2 (Perry 5, McGrath 5) England, who started with two slips, could have four now, but they opt to stick rather than twist. Cross bowls one bad ball in the over, a freebie on leg stump, and Tahlia McGrath is calm enough to clip it for four.

WICKET! Healy b Cross 7 (Australia 15-2)

Clean bowled! Kate Cross goes full too, wobble seam I suspect, and bursts through the gate. So these two teams that are so hard to separate have both started the same way today – with not much for two.

2nd over: Australia 15-1 (Healy 7, Perry 4) Great stuff from Lauren Bell, who went full and reaped the reward. That was from round the wicket. She goes back to the umpire’s left for Ellyse Perry, strays onto leg stump, and gets clipped for four, but she won’t mind that too much.

WICKET! Litchfield c Ecclestone b Bell 1 (Australia 10-1)

Instant breakthrough for Lauren Bell! She goes full, gets some swing, draws the nick and sees Sophie Ecclestone make a difficult low catch look easy at first slip.

Phoebe Litchfield of Australia leaves the field.
Phoebe Litchfield of Australia leaves the field. Photograph: Steve Bardens/Getty Images

1st over: Australia 7-0 (Healy 6, Litchfield 0) Cross starts off with two slips … and three dots. But then Alyssa Healy spots a juicy half-volley and plays a cover-drive for four, with some authority. Cross sorts out her length but oversteps and hands Healy a free hit, which she slogs for two.

The players are in the middle, Jerusalem is ringing out and the shiny white ball is in the hands of Kate Cross.

Thanks Geoff and hello everyone. What a series we have here. In fact, what a pair of series. This ODI best-of-three, the first women’s series ever to sell out in England, is poised at 1-1 and should still be in the balance as the sun sets on Taunton tonight. Then there’s the 2023 Ashes as a whole, which, with its three formats, can still end in a draw (8-8!) or an Australian win.

To manage it, the Aussies will have to all-but-surpass themselves: even with all their ODI victories, they have only once chased as many as 286. After consulting TimViz – just like WinViz, but unencumbered by data – I’d say they were favourites, if only just. Back in a few minutes to see how they go.

Well @GeoffLemonSport, as much as I’m gutted we couldn’t quite squeak it in Sunday, this has been a vintage Ashes. You just want England to nick yr final win. A few chances another way and they could have won the series. They know they can beat this side though, huge for 2025.

— Guy Hornsby (@GuyHornsby) July 18, 2023

Australia must chase 286 to win

Geoff Lemon

Geoff Lemon

So it’s a tall target. England fell just short of 283 in Southampton, now Australia need 286 here. Their three biggest chases historically are 275, 280 and 289. So it has been done, but only once.

On the other hand, maybe England’s score is a bit short of where it should have been. Sciver-Brunt was outstanding again, but the Australians got through a few too many low-scoring overs near the end, taking regular wickets to keep the runs down. Setting Australia 300 would have been a statement.

Much to do here at Taunton, and much to come. Your companion for all of that will be Tim de Lisle.

WICKET! Cross b Jonassen 4, England 285-9

50th over: England 285-9 (Ecclestone 10) Total free hit for Cross from the last ball of the match, and she misses it while two metres out of her ground, swinging for the fences, would have stumped if she wasn’t bowled first. She had already whacked two to midwicket the previous ball, after three singles.

England's Kate Cross bowled out by Australia's Jess Jonassen.
England’s Kate Cross bowled out by Australia’s Jess Jonassen. Photograph: Steven Paston/PA

49th over: England 280-8 (Ecclestone 8, Cross 1) Australia have put the clamps on at the end. Two runs from the bat and a wicket from the 49th, though four byes help England along.

WICKET! Dean lbw Gardner 2, England 274-8

Can’t keep Gardner out of the action. Straight break from over the wicket, nice loop beats Dean’s sweep shot in the air, plays over it and is hit in front. Umpire Harris thinks there is an under edge, and there is a sound burble on the soundwave graph when the Australian’s review, but there’s also a big gap between bat and pad from side on. Hitting right in front.

48th over: England 274-7 (Ecclestone 7, Dean 2) Time for someone else to step up, and Ecclestone clobbers one! Slog sweep, six into the stands. Tries again, top edge this time, and Gardner rushing in dives full length forward, leaving drag marks in the turf like a plane without landing gear, and can’t quite fingertip it! Ecclestone gets a run.

WICKET! Sciver-Brunt c Gardner b Jonassen 129, England 265-7

Finally she falls! Huge ovation from the Taunton crowd as she walks off. Incredible innings, in an incredible run of them. Sciver-Brunt takes on Jonassen, hits it hard and flat but the pockets of the ground are sizeable and out there is the best deep midwicket in the business, Ash Gardner. Takes it easy as switching off a light. Goodnight.

England's Nat Sciver-Brunt walks of the field.
England’s Nat Sciver-Brunt walks of the field. Photograph: Steven Paston/PA

47th over: England 261-6 (Sciver-Brunt 125, Ecclestone 0) Another Gardner over without much damage, only five from it, plus the run out.


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