Perry frustrates England Ashes hopes

Hampshire Chronicle: Ellyse Perry's superb display took Australia Women to victory Ellyse Perry's superb display took Australia Women to victory

Ellyse Perry hit an unbeaten 90 as Australia stunned England with a dramatic four-wicket win to keep the Women's Ashes series alive.

The tourists came into Saturday's contest with an 8-2 lead on points and knowing victory would see them retain the urn with three Twenty20 games to go.

But Perry and Erin Osborne scored 70 runs off the last eight overs to see Australia to their target of 269 with three balls to spare.

England had looked favourites after amassing 268 for four on a flat wicket with Sarah Taylor top-scoring with 64.

Charlotte Edwards' side made the most of winning the toss and electing to bat as the captain and Heather Knight put on 79 for the first wicket.

The opening duo made a steady start with Knight taking the lead role as she found the boundary five times in the opening 10 overs.

Their serene progress continued until the 19th over when Edwards (34) became the first wicket to fall as she was caught by Osborne off the bowling of Jess Jonassen.

That brought Taylor to the crease and she and Knight went about upping the run rate, taking England past 100 with the latter bringing up her half-century shortly after.

Their 41 partnership came at nearly a run a ball before before Knight was run out for 57 in the 26th over to leave England 120 for two.

The tourists maintained their momentum, however, with Rene Farrell getting clobbered for 13 in the 34th over before Taylor was eventually removed when she found Jess Cameron off a Perry delivery.

Her 64 had come off 57 balls and contributed to a third-wicket partnership of 71.

Lydia Greenway fell for 25 shortly after to leave England 205 for four with nine overs remaining.

And some big-hitting followed with Natalie Sciver putting on 43 off 35 balls and Arran Brindle hitting 26 off 25 as England posted a competitive total.

Anya Shrubsole opened England's bowling with a maiden but after that the hosts set about chasing their target in quick-fire fashion.

Meg Lanning led the charge as she moved onto 30 off 28 balls, helping Australia to 45 without loss after nine overs.

The opener the then clobbered a six and a four in the 10th but she was gone next ball, stumped by Taylor off Jenny Gunn to depart for 40 off 30 balls.

Cameron added just five before she was run out shortly after and Australia's momentum was halted as they slipped to 64 for two.

The runs dried up and the hosts were soon in a spot of bother at 81 for three as Nicole Bolton was bowled by Danni Hazell for 31.

Perry and Alex Blackwell then steadied the ship as they put on 88 for the fourth wicket but Gunn bowled the latter for 51 just an over after she had brought up her half-century.

Alyssa Healy was next to go as she she was caught behind off Gunn and when Jonassen was bowled by Sciver for just three England were heavy favourites.

But that brought Osborne to the crease and she and Perry grasped the nettle as they set about chasing 70 runs off the last eight overs.

The duo scored 12 runs off the 47th and when Perry hit a six in the next, Australia were in the ascendancy with Osborne hitting the winning four with three balls to spare.

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