Australia are chasing a moral victory in their multi-format women’s cricket series against England after the home side’s seven-wicket win in Friday’s T20 clash at the MCG.
England have retained the Ashes after taking an unassailable overall points lead with their win in the first T20 clash in Hobart on Wednesday.
But Australia’s win at the MCG levels their three-game T20 series at 1-1 ahead of Sunday’s decider at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
And victory in Sydney would also give Australia four wins from seven matches, compared to England’s Test victory and one win each in the one-day international and T20 series.
Pace bowler Holly Ferling took 2-14 in England’s modest total of 6-98, before Alyssa Healy (37 not out) and Meg Lanning (42) added 69 for Australia’s second wicket.
Australia reached 3-99 in 15.1 overs to win with 29 balls to spare as the home side sought to claim an advantage over England ahead of the World T20 in Bangladesh in March.
Healy and player-of-the-match Ferling said the six-point weighting for the Test match was too much when the one-day and T20 games were only worth two points each.
“Six points is a big weighting on a format that we hardly ever play,” Healy said.
“I’d love to see a point or two added to the ODI format.”
Healy said winning the T20 series would give Australia a psychological edge leading into the World T20.
Ferling gave a spirited display after missing selection for the first T20 game in Hobart.
“I was a bit disappointed being left out of that game and then also us losing the Ashes on that game. It hurt sitting on the sideline and not being able to do anything,” said Ferling, 18.
“The whole mindset was we’ve lost the Ashes but the Twenty20 World Cup is coming up.
“We can still win the Twenty20 series (against England) and take some momentum into that World Cup.”
England face a heavy injury load with only 11 fit players for game three.
Asked what would happen if another player pulled out following Jenny Gunn’s withdrawal from game two with back soreness, England captain Charlotte Edwards said: “I don’t know.”
The classy Edwards top-scored with 28 in her side’s innings.
“We didn’t bat well,” Edwards said.
“It’s a slightly slower pitch here and, ultimately, 98 was never going to be enough for a young bowling attack that we took into the game today.
“We’re missing probably six or seven of our main players.
“We can’t afford to risk any of them with such a big World T20 (tournament) coming up.”