England moved just one win away from reclaiming the Ashes from the Aussies with an emphatic 15 run victory in the first of the T20Is at a packed Chelmsford.
It was a great night for England and indeed for women's cricket, as a stand-alone women's T20 produced a great crowd and a great atmosphere.
England owed a great deal again to the classy Sarah Taylor (77 off 57 balls), who eschewed the leg-side heave and played beautifully in the V, even to the hip-high full tosses that the Aussies occasionally delivered. Her batting partner for the majority of the innings was the more frenetic and agricultural Danni Wyatt (28 off 40 balls) as they amassed 88 for the third wicket, after the early demise of Charlotte Edwards (17) and Heather Knight (18) - brilliantly caught one-handed by a back-pedalling Jess Cameron at mid-on. Taylor never looked in any difficulty, although even she found boundaries hard to come by. But with Wyatt scampering twos they got England to 126/3 early in the 17th over before Wyatt was run out, looking for a single that was not there. 150 looked like a decent score and England pulled up just short at 146/4 as Taylor was out to the last ball of the innings for what would turn out to be a match-winning innings. Erin Osborne was the pick of the Aussie bowlers with 1/22 off her 4 overs.
England needed to restrict the Aussies early on and when Anya Shrubsole limped off with what looked like a groin injury after just one over England might have had a few concerns, but a maiden over from Dani Hazell in the powerplay and then three quick wickets of Lanning, Healy and Fields to Brindle (run out), Brunt and Gunn and the Aussies were well and truly behind the 8 ball. In truth they never looked like getting back in the game as England kept the run rate down, and despite scoring 15 off the penultimate over, they still needed 25 off the last over, entrusted to Nat Sciver. They could manage only 8 and England had one hand on the Ashes trophy. They could pick it up at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday or at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.
Either way England will not mind. For the second game in a row Sarah Taylor was named Player of the Match. England will be hoping she has one more match winning performance in her before this series ends.