England has salvaged some measure of pride by denying Australia an invincible women’s Ashes series with a 17-run victory in the third Twenty20 international in Bristol.
Sophie Ecclestone and Katherine Brunt were the match winners for England with three wickets apiece, while debutant Mady Villiers grabbed 2-20, as Australia failed to get near the 140 target despite Ellyse Perry’s unbeaten 60 off 50 balls.
Earlier, England’s Lauren Winfield (26) and Brunt (25) put on an unbeaten 55-run partnership for the sixth wicket to push their total to 5-139.
With Australia losing key early wickets, the visitors were always behind in their chase.
Villiers took the key wicket of Alyssa Healy (28) when a full toss was hit to Ecclestone at long off, after she dropped a caught-and-bowled chance from the opener in her previous over.
Villiers then had Ashleigh Gardner stumped first ball.
Ecclestone (3-22) was the star though, taking the wicket of Meg Lanning (2) LBW, the first time an Englishwoman has dismissed Lanning in this format since March 2016.
Returning at the death, Ecclestone kept runs to a premium and dismissed Jess Jonassen (9) and Delissa Kimmince (0), also LBW.
While the ominous figure of Perry stood in England’s way, with no support it proved even beyond her powers to bring Australia home.
England began the game well with Danni Wyatt (20) giving the hosts early momentum and then Amy Jones (19) and Heather Knight (23) putting on a run-a-ball partnership of 38.
Perry imposed herself on proceedings with a remarkable one-handed pick-up and 45-metre bullet throw to run out the England skipper, whose hesitation during a second run proved costly.
It was ultimately Winfield and Brunt who got England to a winnable total before the latter also nabbed 3-21, accounting for opener Beth Mooney (2), Rachael Haynes (8) and Georgia Wareham (0).
The result gives Australia 12 points from the series, while England ends with four, equalling the margin in England’s favour during the 2013 series.