Women's Ashes: Australia clinch T20 series against England with another win
|Women's Ashes: Second Twenty20 international, The 1st Central County Ground|
|England 121-8 (20 overs): Beaumont 43, Jonassen 2-19, Wareham 2-22|
|Australia 122-3 (17.5 overs): Perry 47*, Lanning 43*|
|Australia won by seven wickets (Australia 2pts; lead series 12-2)|
Australia clinched the Twenty20 portion of the Women's Ashes with a comfortable seven-wicket win over England at Hove.
Tammy Beaumont top-scored with 43 from 39 balls as England posted what they hoped would be a potentially competitive 121-8 on a slow pitch.
With the Ashes already gone, England briefly had hope of a first series win when they reduced the tourists to 35-3.
But Meg Lanning (43 not out) and Ellyse Perry (47 not out) saw the Aussies past their target with 13 balls to spare.
It means Australia take an overwhelming 12-2 lead on points in the multi-format series, with just one game remaining - in Bristol on Wednesday - giving them the chance of going through the entire tour without losing a game.
England bat better - but still fall short
This was not a humiliation in the manner of England's 194-run capitulation in the final one-day international at Canterbury, or their 93-run hammering in the first game of this T20 series at Chelmsford.
But there was still a sense that Australia remained in control of proceedings - as summed up by Amy Jones' dismissal in the first over of the day after England won the toss.
Jones has been one of England's success stories of the past 12 months. Having spent much of her international career in the shadow of fellow keeper Sarah Taylor, she has established herself at the top of the order - hitting five half-centuries in six ODIs against Sri Lanka and West Indies this year.
However, she has now received 10 balls from Perry's right-arm pace in white-ball cricket in this Ashes series - and been dismissed four times by the all-rounder, this time offering an easy catch to cover.
With opening partner Danni Wyatt soon caught at deep mid-on, trying to hit into a strong wind, and Natalie Sciver bowled round her legs, it was left to Beaumont to anchor the innings as wickets fell around her.
Perry did not return after her opening spell as Australia discovered the conditions suited their slower bowlers, while England found boundaries hard to come by.
And after Beaumont was bowled reverse-sweeping Jess Jonassen's left-arm spin and captain Heather Knight popped a return catch to leg-spinner Georgia Wareham, no-one else took up the baton to push England towards a winning score.
Indeed, only one four was hit in the entire second half of the innings as Australia put the squeeze on - although Lauren Winfield and Sophie Ecclestone hit sixes.
Can 'Lanning's Invincibles' go unbeaten?
Although they have insisted at each stage (securing the Ashes, clinching the overall series, winning the T20 series) that they want to take it one game at a time, Lanning's side are within touching distance of going the entire series unbeaten.
Since the Women's Ashes was switched to a multi-format points-based series in 2013, no side has failed to win a single game in a series.
And if Australia take their ruthless streak to Bristol, it is hard at the moment to see where England could upset the form book for a consolation victory.
After their bowlers squeezed England to leave the required rate barely more than a run a ball, Australia's top order again asserted their dominance.
England had taken the bold move of dropping vice-captain Anya Shrubsole, wicketless and expensive in her last two games, but her replacement Georgia Elwiss was thrashed for three fours by Alyssa Healy in the opening over as Australia again set the tone.
The hosts' most effective bowlers were two players at opposite ends of their careers - with veteran seamer Katherine Brunt inducing a top edge from Healy and young spinner Ecclestone bowling Beth Mooney.
Lanning and Perry came together at 35-3 in the seventh over but in contrast to Lanning's Chelmsford fireworks, they played sensible, risk-free cricket, not offering a chance and slowly but inexorably driving Australia towards victory.
Perry became the first cricketer, male or female, to complete the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in T20 internationals - while Lanning has now amassed 333 runs in T20 cricket against England since they last dismissed her.
'Ellyse and I wanted to finish the job' - what they said
England captain Heather Knight on Sky Sports: "We kept losing wickets at regular intervals - it was a slow pitch and we needed one player to shepherd us along, we needed a partnership like Meg and Ellyse had. Taking those three wickets put the pressure on, but we couldn't break that partnership."
Australia skipper Meg Lanning on Sky Sports: "We knew we didn't need to go hard, just score off as many balls as we could and find the odd boundary. We had to play to the conditions and I think we adjusted nicely. We talk about building match-winning partnerships, so Ellyse and I wanted to finish the job."
Ex-Middlesex captain Isabelle Westbury on BBC Test Match Special: "It's difficult to find even a phase in a match where England have been on top. Australia have been more dominant in the T20 leg of the series than in any other portion of it. Lanning and Perry have been like twin robots trying to destroy everything in their path."
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