Women's Ashes: Australia's Meg Lanning hits T20 record 133 against England
|Women's Ashes: First Twenty20 international, The Cloudfm County Ground|
|Australia 226-3 (20 overs): Lanning 133*, Mooney 54|
|England 133-9 (20 overs): Winfield 33, Schutt 3-25|
|Australia won by 93 runs (Australia 2pts; take unassailable 10-2 lead in series)|
Meg Lanning broke her own record for the highest score in a Women's Twenty20 international as Australia inflicted England's biggest T20 defeat to clinch the Women's Ashes series outright.
Captain Lanning hit 17 fours and seven sixes in her unbeaten 133 from 63 balls in Australia's 226-3 at Chelmsford.
England were never in the hunt, making 133-9 for a record 93-run defeat.
It means Lanning's side take an unassailable 10-2 lead on points in the multi-format Women's Ashes series.
There are two more T20 games remaining, at Hove on Sunday and at Bristol next Wednesday - when Australia will fancy their chances of going unbeaten throughout the series, following last week's drawn Test in Taunton.
Lethal Lanning tops the charts
Lanning's innings topped her previous best of 126, which she made against Ireland in March 2014 and was then equalled by Sterre Kalis of the Netherlands against Germany last month.
The International Cricket Council's decision last year to confer full T20 international status on all such matches between its members has rather skewed some of the record books - with an inexperienced Mali side conceding three of the four highest totals in women's T20 cricket in the space of three days last month.
But Australia's final total of 226 was the second highest in a match between top-tier opposition, surpassed only by England's 250-3 against South Africa at Taunton last summer.
And Lanning's innings can rightly lay claim to be one of the greatest of the modern women's game.
Though initially overshadowed by opener Beth Mooney, who made 54 from 33 balls in a second-wicket stand of 134, Lanning was soon unleashing her trademark cut shots, to which the increasingly ragged England bowlers and fielders had no answer.
The 27-year-old Aussie skipper gave one chance - which was put down by Tammy Beaumont at backward point in the 14th over when she had 85 - but was otherwise ruthless.
Lanning had missed the last Ashes series down under after having shoulder surgery, and had averaged 36 from her five visits to the crease so far in this one, but was back to her classy best at Chelmsford.
England powerless as 'Fortress Chelmsford' finally breached
England's mantra since 2017 has been that the last Ashes series down under was drawn 8-8, not won by Australia, even though they retained the trophy which has been in their possession since 2015.
Last week's drawn Test gave the Aussies an 8-2 lead and ensured the trophy would remain theirs, although a change of format gave England hope that this might be another drawn series.
But even "Fortress Chelmsford" finally staged an England defeat after 14 successive wins in all formats.
By captain Heather Knight's own admission, they were "a little bit sloppy in the field, which set the tone for the day" - but while Beaumont's drop was the most glaring error, there were plenty of others in the field, with even their reliable boundary rider Danni Wyatt letting a couple of fours through.
Although spinner Sophie Ecclestone's persistence brought a brace of wickets, England's seamers took a pummelling - particularly Anya Shrubsole, whose three overs cost 50.
Indeed, Australia found boundaries so easy to come by, they only ran one two in the entire innings.
With a record-busting run chase required, scoreboard pressure told on England as both openers fell without scoring and they soon slumped to 22-4, with the game virtually over as a contest inside the opening powerplay.
Lauren Winfield's fluent 33 from 27 balls provided a pinprick of light for England. Having carried the drinks for the entire series so far, the Yorkshire right-hander may not even have played at all had Sarah Taylor's mental health problems not caused her to withdraw from the series.
Laura Marsh, a former ODI opener now batting at 10, entertained the crowd by hitting Megan Schutt for two sixes, but the game was long gone by the time England finished on 133 - the same total Lanning has scored single-handedly.
'We have to park this quickly' - what they said
England captain Heather Knight on Sky Sports: "Credit to Meg, it was an outstanding innings from her. We haven't been up to the standards we set ourselves, and Australia made us pay. But we have to try and park this quickly - I'm sure we'll debrief the series fully after it's over, but we've got to adjust quickly for Hove."
Australia coach Matthew Mott on Sky Sports: "I've not seen too many better innings than Meg's in T20 cricket, full stop. We came here today with a job to do, the Test match wasn't the result we were after but this was a great advert for T20 cricket."
Ex-England batter Ebony Rainford-Brent on BBC Test Match Special: "There is a gulf between the sides at the moment. If England say there isn't one, they're fooling themselves. They've got a lot of work to do - after these next two T20s, that's when the review has got to start. Look at the way Australia walked off. It wasn't a "we've won the Ashes" walk-off, they feel they've got more work to do."
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