England win final T20 to end Australia hopes of unbeaten Ashes

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Women’s Ashes: Third Twenty20 international, The Bristol County Ground
England 139-5 (20 overs): Brunt 26*, Winfield 25*
Australia 122-8 (20 overs): Perry 60*, Brunt 3-21, Ecclestone 3-22
England won by 17 runs (England 2pts; Australia win series 12-4)

England ended Australia’s hopes of an unbeaten Women’s Ashes series with a 17-run win in the third and final Twenty20 international at Bristol.

Sophie Ecclestone (3-22), Katherine Brunt (3-21) and debutant Mady Villiers (2-20) all starred with the ball.

Chasing 140, Ellyse Perry’s unbeaten 60 was in vain but the Aussies win the multi-format series 12-4 on points.

Earlier, Brunt and Lauren Winfield added an invaluable 43 from the last four overs as England posted 139-5.

But in terms of the series, it was too little, too late after the drawn Test in Taunton ensured the trophy would remain with Australia – while the tourists had already taken an unassailable lead on points after handing England a 93-run hiding in the first T20 at Chelmsford.

England’s young spinners shine under the lights

With the Ashes gone, the series gone and even the T20 mini-series lost, England handed a full international debut to Essex all-rounder Villiers – and the 20-year-old did not disappoint.

Though not required to bat, the off-spinner – who took three wickets for Surrey Stars in last season’s Super League final – was energetic in the field, with a strong arm when deployed on the boundary.

Brought on to bowl the eighth over, it was nearly a dream start for Villiers when opener Alyssa Healy offered a return catch to her second ball in international cricket, but the waist-high chance was spilled.

Undaunted, she had Healy caught at long-off from a full toss next over, before having the dangerous Ash Gardner stumped for a golden duck.

An accurate spell helped England put the squeeze on in mid-innings as her first three overs yielded only seven runs (with no boundaries) – although a Perry six and a Jess Jonassen four in her final over rather dented her debut bowling figures.

It is easy to forget that Ecclestone, three years into her international career, has only just turned 20 herself – but she is slowly becoming England’s go-to bowler, removing captain Meg Lanning cheaply as she bowled a wicket maiden in the powerplay, before picking up two more lbws at the death.

More to follow.

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