Australia dominate England in Ashes finale

Australia have crushed England by eight wickets in the third and final ODI to complete an undefeated women’s Ashes campaign.

Even with the urn secured last week, Australia have not relented in the multi-format series as they eye redemption at next month’s ODI World Cup in New Zealand.

Openers Alyssa Healy (42) and Rachael Haynes (31) made batting look easy at the Junction Oval in Melbourne, racing to 0-74 in pursuit of England’s 163.

The hosts then had a mini-collapse, losing 2-0, before captain Meg Lanning (57 not out) and superstar allrounder Ellyse Perry (31 not out) steered Australia home with 82 balls to spare.

Lanning and Perry now average 170 as a batting pair in ODI chases, winning 12 of those 13 games.

It is the first time since 2013-14 Australia have ended an Ashes battle with a victory in the last game of the series.

Australia won the first of the three Twenty20s, with the two other matches in Adelaide washed out, drew a thrilling Test in Canberra, before clean-sweeping the ODIs.

England will leave Australia after failing to record a win all summer between their men’s and women’s teams.

Heather Knight’s team has not held the women’s Ashes since Australia regained them in 2015.

After electing to bat first on Tuesday, England seemed more intent on surviving than setting Australia a challenging target.

Their batting was akin to Test cricket rather than the 50-over format as they were dismissed with three balls remaining in their innings.

Opener Tammy Beaumont (50) and star batter Natalie Sciver (46) occupied the crease for 26 overs during their 88-run partnership.

When Beaumont attempted to lift the lagging run-rate she lost her wicket to emerging Australian legspinner Alana King, triggering a collapse of 8-56.

Five Australian bowlers took a wicket, with young allrounder Annabel Sutherland (4-31) starring to claim the best ODI figures of her blossoming career.

Sutherland’s third wicket came when Rachael Haynes hung onto a brilliant catch at point.

The tourists made three changes to their XI, including giving a debut to opening batter Emma Lamb who was out bowled for a second-ball duck to superstar Ellyse Perry.

Allrounder Tahlia McGrath continued her breakout summer to be named player of the series, backing up her scintillating efforts against India late last year.

McGrath contributed with bat and ball across all three formats, highlighted by a stunning unbeaten 91 and 3-26 in the first T20.

“Once we retained the Ashes, it was about winning it outright, then it was about not letting England in at all,” McGrath said.

“It was really important to finish off the job so it’s great momentum leading into the World Cup.”

Australia will now turn their attention to reclaiming their World Cup crown, which they dropped in surprising fashion during the last edition in 2017.

Lanning’s team has won 29 of its past 30 ODIs, including a world-record 26-match winning streak.

 

Oliver Caffrey
(Australian Associated Press)

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