Women’s Ashes: Australia thrash England to retain trophy

Sylvester Stallone
England were 16-4 in the fifth over
Women’s Ashes: First Twenty20, North Sydney Oval
England 132-9 (20 overs): Wyatt 50, Schutt 4-22
Australia 134-4 (15.5 overs): Mooney 86*
Australia won by six wickets; lead multi-format series 8-4

Australia retained the Women’s Ashes with an emphatic six-wicket victory over England in the first Twenty20 international in Sydney.

Victory gave the holders an 8-4 lead in the points-based series, meaning England can only draw 8-8 if they win the final two T20s.

England lost Heather Knight second ball and were 16-4, but Dani Wyatt’s maiden fifty helped them to 132-9.

Beth Mooney hit 86 not as Australia raced home with 25 balls to spare.

Having won the 50-over World Cup in fine style at Lord’s in July, England’s preparations for the Ashes were hampered by the two warm-up matches being washed out and they found themselves 4-0 down in the series after losing the first two one-day internationals.

A draw in the one-off Test kept the series alive into the T20s, but there was a bizarre start at the North Sydney Oval after Australia chose to field.

Women’s Ashes series 2017
1st one-day international: Australia won by two wickets
2nd one-day international: Australia won by 75 runs
3rd one-day international: England won by 20 runs
Only Test: Match drawn
1st T20 international: Australia won by six wickets
2nd T20 international: 19 November, Canberra
3rd T20 international: 21 November, Canberra

Knight edged to wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy, who also took off the bails, but was temporarily reprieved as the umpires consulted, only to be sent to the pavilion again when the method of dismissal had been determined.

Key batter Sarah Taylor was adjudged lbw in the next over, with no review process in place to question whether the ball might have gone missed leg stump.

Ellyse Perry, international footballer and double centurion in the Test, was on a hat-trick in the fifth over after two more catches from Healy, with one outstanding effort millimetres from the turf at full stretch.

Wyatt hit six fours in her 50 from 36 balls

But Wyatt gave the innings much-needed impetus with some delightfully clean hitting down the ground, twice striking successive fours.

However, the 26-year-old was halfway down the wicket when sent back by Fran Wilson in the 16th over and could not regain her ground.

England mustered a further 32 runs after her dismissal, but Mooney set the tone for Australia’s chase with a four and a six in an opening over from Katherine Brunt that cost 14.

Wyatt gave England a glimmer of hope when she raced around the mid-wicket boundary to pouch Healy’s hook in the fifth over.

But Mooney continued to dominate with a second six off Brunt and the fluent left-hander made the highest score by an Australia on home soil in women’s T20 matches, striking the winning runs in style with her 11th four.

The series concludes with two T20s at the Manuka Oval in Canberra, on Sunday at 03:35 GMT and Tuesday 21 November at 08:10.

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