Australia 282 for 7 (Perry 91, Sutherland 50, Wareham 37*, Ecclestone 3-40) beat England 279 for 7 (Sciver-Brunt 111*, Beaumont 60, King 3-44) by three runs
But King, who hadn’t played since the Test match, which opened the series, replaced quick Darcie Brown as Australia went for a spin-heavy attack and broke the game open with three wickets for 15 in the space of 23 balls while Gardner claimed 3 for 54 and conceded just six runs off the penultimate over, leaving England chasing 15 off the last. Sciver-Brunt marshalled the closing stages almost to perfection with No. 9 Sarah Glenn, who remained unbeaten on 22 from 35 balls. But, in scenes reminiscent of the 2022 World Cup where Sciver-Brunt scored fighting centuries in losing causes to Australia during the group stage and in the final, her 111 not out fell agonisingly short.
In-form opener Tammy Beaumont set England’s response off in fine fashion, her back-to-back fours off King past mid-off gave her 20 runs in boundaries by the end of the sixth over and after the 10-over powerplay England were 62 without loss.
Legspinner Wareham came on in the 12th over and struck with her third ball as Sophia Dunkley tried to paddle but instead had the top of her off stump rattled to depart for a laboured 13 off 30.
King then rapped Heather Knight on the front knee-roll in line with middle stump in the 18th over and, although Knight reviewed immediately, her dismissal was upheld convincingly. Sciver-Brunt managed to overturn her lbw decision to Tahlia McGrath in the next over when replays showed the ball was missing down the leg side. But then King produced a stunning legbreak to beat Beaumont’s forward defence and ping the top of off stump and had Alice Capesy out cheaply, picking out Gardner just inside the rope at deep midwicket to leave England 123 for 4.
England were still looking good at the halfway point of their innings, at 132 for 4 compared to Australia’s 119 for 4 but then Danni Wyatt sent a Gardner delivery high to Sutherland at long-on and it fell to Sciver-Brunt and Amy Jones to make running repairs to the innings.
Consecutive fours to Jones off Megan Schutt in the 33rd over eased the pressure and Sutherland missed a difficult chance running back at mid-on when Jones was on 34 but then Jones’ attempted reverse-sweep off Gardner found Schutt at backward point and her 57-run stand with Sciver-Brunt ended. Sophie Ecclestone followed lbw to Gardner three balls later and Australia needed 73 from the last ten overs.
With England needing 38 off last five, King conceded just three runs off her last over, the 46th, while Jonassen conceded eight off the 48th. Sciver-Brunt was dropped by Wareham at deep midwicket off the second ball of the penultimate over but England couldn’t quite make Australia pay, despite Sciver-Brunt’s slog-sweep for four followed by two mad dashes for two.
Earlier, Phoebe Litchfield unleashed a sumptuous cover drive for four off Lauren Bell, but was pinned back by one that angled in from just outside off stump on the next ball and Bell had her second wicket when Alyssa Healy spooned tamely to Capsey at short third so that Australia were 27 for 2 inside six overs.
They stretched that to 59 for 2 by the end of the powerplay as Mooney and Perry settled into a 61-run stand. The Australian duo upped the tempo in the 16th and 17th overs as Mooney crashed a one-bounce four off Sciver-Brunt down the ground and swept Ecclestone to the boundary. But it was Mooney’s attempted sweep off Ecclestone in the 19th over which was her undoing, Bell snaffling the edge at short fine leg and Australia were 88 for 3.
Legspinner Glenn struck with the first ball of her second over when had Tahlia McGrath caught behind attempting to cut. Gardner received a life on 4 when she sent a Capsey delivery looping towards short third, Ecclestone running across and getting her left had to the ball but failing to hold on. Gardner capitalised by sending Glenn over long on-for six and moments later Perry brought up her fifty with a pull to square leg for two.
Glenn had an lbw appeal turned down in her next over, Perry surviving England’s review on umpires call, missing a tough caught-and-bowled chance in an eventful 28th over.
Ecclestone made up for her earlier blunder with an excellent catch at mid-off from Bell, who had just returned to the attack to remove Gardner and break a 56-run partnership with Perry.
Kate Cross had already bowled her ten-over allocation when she went off with what was later diagnosed as persistent cramp after putting down Perry on 63 at mid-off from Ecclestone.
Sutherland contributed an impressive 50 from 47 balls, including three fours off one Bell over, down the ground, over wide mid-on an through fine leg. She and Perry were busy in the 43rd over, Glenn conceding 17 from it.
But then England’s bowlers regained control with Ecclestone bowling a tight 45th over, which went for just five runs, and Bell conceding only four from the next. Sutherland brought up her fifty with a single cut just short of point off Ecclestone’s next over but then Ecclestone snared the wickets of Perry and Sutherland, holing out to long-off and long-on respectively in the space of four balls.
Sciver-Brunt conceded just five runs off the penultimate over but then Wareham helped herself to 26 runs from the last. As Bell kept putting the ball in the slot, Wareham launched back-to-back sixes over deep square leg and deep midwicket, followed by fours over mid-off and extra cover which bookended another maximum over mid-on.
Valkerie Baynes is a general editor, women’s cricket, at ESPNcricinfo