13th over: Australia 65-4 (Perry 24, Haynes 5) England will assume nothing while Ellyse Perry is at the crease. But, accomplished as she is at scoring off almost every delivery, a required rate of almost 11 an over looks extremely tricky.
12th over: Australia 57-4 (Perry 21, Haynes 2) The debutant Mady Villiers is winning this match for England. Another parsimonious over gives her wonderful figures of 3-0-7-2, and leaves Australia needing 83 from 48 balls.
11th over: Australia 54-4 (Perry 19, Haynes 1) Perry drives Ecclestone for a straight six, the first of the innings. Yet even that isn’t enough for Australia to keep up with the required rate. Nine runs from the over; the required rate is now 9.55.
10th over: Australia 45-4 (Perry 11, Haynes 0) Australia need 95 from 60 balls.
WICKET! Australia 45-4 (Villiers st Jones b Gardner 0)
Two wickets in the over for Villiers! Gardner lunged forward at a delivery angled across her from round the wicket, and Jones completed a really smart stumping. Villiers, on her debut, has figures of two for four!
WICKET! Australia 44-3 (Healy c Ecclestone b Villiers 28)
Mady Villiers gets her first international wicket! Healy, dropped in Villiers’ previous over, lofts a low full toss high to long off, where Ecclestone takes the catch. For the first time in the Ashes, England are in control of a match against Australia.
9th over: Australia 43-2 (Healy 28, Perry 9) England rotated the strike expertly for most of their innings, and Perry is starting to do the same for Australia. She and Healy take eight from Cross’s over, all in ones and twos.
8th over: Australia 35-2 (Healy 26, Perry 3) The debutant Mady Villiers comes into the attack – and she drops Healy off her own bowling from the second ball! It was a fairly routine chance as Healy smacked the ball back at hear, but it burst through her hands. That can only be nerves because she’s usually a very accomplished fielder. It was a fine over nonetheless, with just two runs from it. Australia need 105 from 72 balls. Whether they win or lose, this has been such an admirable performance from England.
7th over: Australia 33-2 (Healy 25, Perry 2) Nat Sciver’s first over goes for six, all in ones and twos. The required rate is up to 8.38 per over.
6th over: Australia 27-2 (Healy 21, Perry 0) Replays confirm that was a superb decision from the umpire Alex Wharf. And it was an even better over from Eccelstone – not just a wicket maiden, but a Lanning wicket maiden.
WICKET! Australia 27-2 (Lanning LBW b Ecclestone 2)
Breaking news: Meg Lanning is out! It’s the first time she’s been dismissed in an IT20 against England since 2016, and it was a lovely piece of bowling from Sophie Ecclestone – an arm ball that beat Lanning on the inside and hit the pad in front of middle stump. It was pad first, then bat a split second later, and the umpire Alex Wharf raised the finger.
5th over: Australia 27-1 (Healy 21, Lanning 2) An inside-edge saves Lanning from being plumb LBW first ball, and then a mistimed pull from Healy lands just short of Shrubsole running in from mid-off. This is England’s chance, right here. Australia need 113 from 90 balls.
WICKET! Australia 24-1 (Mooney c Cross b Brunt 2)
The first wicket of the innings for England. Beth Mooney, who was starved of the strike in the first four overs, clunks Brunt straight to Kate Cross in the covers. She faced only six balls out of 25 in the innings, and that manifested itself in a slightly desperate stroke.
4th over: Australia 24-0 (Healy 20, Mooney 2) Healy launches Shrubsole high over extra cover for four. She has already hit more boundaries than any of the England batters, although there have been a lot of dot balls in between the boundaries.
3rd over: Australia 18-0 (Healy 15, Mooney 1) Healy continues to punish England square of the wicket, cutting the new bowler Katherine Brunt for her third boundary. She has monopolised the strike (14 balls from 18) and the scoring (15 from 18).
“Hi Rob,” says Sarah Bacon. “So what are your thoughts? Australia would indeed appear to be ‘just too good’, but am I being too simplistic in putting it down to superior fielding (followed by batting and bowling)? Time was, it was the fielding excellence of Australia’s men’s side which allowed us to edge so many wins (my memory is telling me that a baseball coach was responsible for that halcyon era, but I could be wrong!) … At any rate: as I commented during the second T20, it’s marvellous to see the never-say-die spirit of England in this contest. It’s not over yet, right?”
Not yet. Australia are a great fielding side but I don’t know that it’s the biggest reason for their dominance. I should qualify this observation by saying that I know the square root of very little.
2nd over: Australia 12-0 (Healy 10, Mooney 0) Anya Shrubsole shares the new ball. Her first ball is short, wide and slapped up and over the off side for four by Healy. Shrubsole gets her length right after that, with a bit of inswing as well, and completes the over with five dot balls.
1st over: Australia 8-0 (Healy 6, Mooney 0) Kate Cross starts the innings with a legside wide. Great stuff. Alyssa Healy pulls the third legal delivery behind square for four, an emphatic statement of intent. She is such a dangerous batter. If England can dismiss her cheaply – and Mooney, and Lanning, and Perry – they will have a chance.
20th over: England 139-5 (Winfield 26, Brunt 25) The last over of the innings, bowled by Jonassen, goes for 10 more. Winfield reverse sweeps breezily over the infield for four, bringing up a lovely fifty partnership from only 36 balls, and England steal an extra run from each of the last two deliveries with the aid of poor fielding from the bowler Jonassen.
England scored 43 from the last four overs, which has given them a chance of a consolation victory. Australia need 140 to win.
19th over: England 129-5 (Winfield 21, Brunt 21) Katherine Brunt, the concept of defiance in human form, is dragging England towards a competitive total. She slog-sweeps Schutt over midwicket for six, the highlight of another productive over for England: 13 from it, including four byes when a yorker somehow beats Brunt, the leg stump and Healy.
18th over: England 116-5 (Winfield 18, Brunt 14) Winfield cuffs Gardner over midwicket for four, a superbly placed shot that bisects two fielders on the boundary, and then makes room to drive classily over mid-off for four more. England have scored 20 from the last two overs.
17th over: England 105-5 (Winfield 9, Brunt 13) Kimmince concedes her first boundary off the last ball of her spell, with Brunt pulling zestily over midwicket for four. That was a cracking shot.
16th over: England 96-5 (Winfield 7, Brunt 6) Winfield swings Wareham back over her head for
two, with Haynes making an outstanding sliding stop on the boundary.
15th over: England 93-5 (Winfield 4, Brunt 6) Thing is, England have played well tonight. They haven’t felt sorry for themselves, which would have been the easy option. They’ve been bright, aggressive and purposeful. And they’re still, in all probability, going to lose the match. Australia are just so good.
WICKET! England 84-5 (Jones c Healy b Gardner 19)
Two wickets in three balls! Ashleigh Gardner, bowling around the wicket, angles one across Jones, who tries to work to leg and gets a gossamer-thin edge that is smartly taken by the unsighted Healy.
WICKET! England 83-4 (Knight run out 23)
Alyssa Healy gives Heather Knight a send off after running her out. Knight came back for a tight second to midwicket and was beaten by a blistering throw from Perry, who changed her mind at the last minute and threw to the keeper’s end when she realised Knight was struggling. Healy collected the throw and broke the stumps in one movement with Knight just short of her ground.
13th over: England 82-3 (Knight 22, Jones 19) Six from Kimmince’s over. England are still struggling to hit boundaries – there have only five in the innings – but they will be pleased with how few dot balls there have been.
12th over: England 76-3 (Knight 19, Jones 17) A lovely shot from Amy Jones, who charges the first ball from the legspinner Georgia Wareham and drives it sweetly over mid-off for four. It’s the start of a very good over for England – 12 from it – with Jones dragging another boundary behind square on the leg side.
11th over: England 64-3 (Knight 19, Jones 5) Jones survives a precautionary stumping referral after some nifty work from Healy. Three from Jonassen’s over. I’m slightly surprised Perry hasn’t returned for an over, given her hold over Jones this summer.
10th over: England 61-3 (Knight 18, Jones 3) Knight is beaten for pace by consecutive deliveries from Vlaeminck, who has a lovely rhythm this evening. She then survives an LBW appeal – it was going down – and a run-out chance from the same delivery. A difficult over ends on a high when she swings the final delivery over square leg for six. Great shot.
9th over: England 54-3 (Knight 12, Jones 3) Knight, who has started purposefully, back cuts Kimmince for a couple. England are struggling to find the boundary, with just a four and a six from Wyatt, but they have manoeuvred the bowling pretty well.
8th over: England 48-3 (Knight 8, Jones 1) The new batter Amy Jones gets off the mark – not just in the match but the IT20 series. That was a very impressive opening over from Vlaeminck, with a top speed of 75mph.
WICKET! England 45-3 (Sciver c Kimmince b Vlaeminck 5)
The pace of Tayla Vlaeminck is too much for Nat Sciver. She top-edges an attempted pull high in the air to third man, where Kimmince calmly takes the catch.
7th over: England 45-2 (Knight 6, Sciver 5) Delissa Kimmince replaces Megan Schutt. The tempo has changed since the departure of Wyatt, with England dealing exclusively in singles. There are five more from Kimmince’s first over.
6th over: England 40-2 (Knight 4, Sciver 2) Knight scrambles to make her ground after taking a tight run to mid-on off the bowling of Jonassen. That’s one of four singles from the over. England’s intent has been much better today; they are just short of confidence.
WICKET! England 35-2 (Wyatt b Schutt 20)
It is happening again. After a slightly scruffy start, Australia are taking control of the game. Wyatt makes room to cut Schutt, misses and is bowled. That ends a perky innings of 20 from 19 balls, and leaves England in a bit of bother.
4th over: England 31-1 (Wyatt 17, Knight 1) Heather Knight has promoted herself to No3.
WICKET! England 28-1 (Beaumont c Mooney b Jonassen 5)
Jess Jonassen strikes with her third ball! Beaumont runs down the track and chips tamely to mid-on, where Beth Mooney takes a comfortable catch. That was a pretty meek stroke from Beaumont, who was berating herself even before it had reached Mooney.
3rd over: England 28-0 (Wyatt 15, Beaumont 5) After a front-foot no-ball from Perry, Beaumont is caught at midwicket off the resulting free hit. Wyatt, again on the charge, slices Perry majestically over backward point for six. That’s an awesome stroke. This has been a fine start from England – not so much the runs as the intent with which they have played.
“England are a very good team, and if they’re being made to look so bad, the rest of the sides don’t stand a chance against Australia,” says Abhijato Sensarma. “Look out, people, the Aussie women might just become the most dominant cricket team we’ve ever seen!”
2nd over: England 17-0 (Wyatt 7, Beaumont 4) Wyatt, on the charge, slaps Megan Schutt over cover for the first boundary. It’s been a busy start from England, who get four bonus runs when a big inswinger from Schutt beats both Wyatt and the keeper Healy.
1st over: England 6-0 (Wyatt 1, Beaumont 3) Ellyse Perry’s first over is a bit of a mixed bag. There’s a leg-side wide to Wyatt, who is also beaten by a beauty outside off stump. Beaumont then drags a short ball towards mid-on, where the sprawling Vlaeminck does very well to save a couple of runs.
England have, as we suspected, made a change to their batting order: Tammy Beaumont will open with Danni Wyatt.
It’s a beautiful evening in Bristol. The players are ready, the umpires are ready. Let us flay.
Amy Jones is listed to open for England, but she may drop down the order after a miserable time in the white-ball matches. She has made five runs in five innings, with four ducks, although she made a superb 64 on Test debut before this IT20 series.
The young bowling allrounder Mady Villiers makes her England debut, while Australia bring in the fast bowler Tayla Vlaeminck.
England Jones (wk), Wyatt, Beaumont, Knight (c), Sciver, Winfield, Brunt, Shrubsole, de Villiers, Ecclestone, Cross.
Australia Healy (wk), Mooney, Lanning (c), Perry, Gardner, Haynes, Jonassen, Wareham, Kimmince, Schutt, Vlaeminck.
Australia have won the toss and will bowl first
“We want to finish off on a high,” says Meg Lanning. “We need three hours of hard work tonight and we’re looking forward to it.”
Here’s Geoff Lemon on the great Meg Lanning, who has scored 388 runs against England in IT20s since she was last dismissed. And even that was a run out.
Good evening. The good news for England is that the torment is almost over. The bad news is that there isn’t enough Aloe Vera in the world to heal the scars caused by Australia’s pitiless excellence this summer. This has been a traumatic thrashing for England; the kind that, if you’re not careful, bleeds into the next Ashes series, and the next, and the next, until one day you start dining out on the fact you once beat Ellyse Perry’s outside edge.
A win tonight would give Australia a 14-2 series victory, which would be a record since the points system was introduced in 2013. (England won 12-4 that year.) England have avoided defeat only once, in the one-off Test match, and they were second best in that game as well.
Their Ashes horribilis has prompted the kind of soul-searching and domestic-structure-bemoaning this country does so readily. England can play better – there’s your daily insight, folks! – but they are still the second best team in the world. For mine, this Ashes has been more about Australia’s strengths than their weaknesses.
On reflection it was naive to think England had much of a chance. They are playing against the greatest team in women’s cricket history. But I doubt England will draw much succour from that.
The match begins at 6.30pm.