|Women’s Ashes: Third Twenty20 international, Canberra|
|Australia 178-2 (20 overs): Mooney 117*, Perry 22*, Brunt 1-25|
|England 181-6 (19 overs): Wyatt 100, Knight 51, Jonassen 2-25|
|England (2pts) won by four wickets; Australia retain the Women’s Ashes with multi-format series drawn 8-8|
Danni Wyatt scored England’s first Twenty20 International century to help her side chase a record 179 and draw the multi-format Women’s Ashes series.
Beth Mooney hit an unbeaten 117, the second-highest score in women’s T20s, as Australia posted an imposing total.
Wyatt hit two sixes and 13 boundaries in a 139-run stand with Heather Knight (51) to rescue England from 30-3 and win by four wickets in Canberra.
Australia had already retained the Women’s Ashes but the series ended 8-8.
A tale of two centuries
Prior to this game, there had only been four centuries in women’s Twenty20 international cricket – two of them struck by West Indies star Deandra Dottin.
The fifth was majestic, Mooney dispatching England’s ragged bowling attack to all areas of Manuka Oval with exceptional power and guile, her 19 boundaries the highest ever by a man or woman in Twenty20 internationals.
The 23-year-old smashed four in a row to finish the innings, taking Australia to 178-2 and seemingly on the cusp of victory.
England floundered in response as Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor were both caught trying to attack every delivery and a nervy Nat Sciver was run out by Elyse Villani’s sharp throw.
Wyatt rode her luck – dropped on just 14 by wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy and 54 by Megan Schutt – but punished the increasingly panicked Australian bowlers with a series of hefty drives over cover.
With Knight proving perfect foil, Wyatt raced to 100 off just 56 balls and though she fell to Delissa Kimmince without adding to her century, the 26-year-old had done enough to steer England to a historic victory.
T20 international centurions
There have only been six T20 centuries in women’s international cricket, and two of those were made within three hours of each other.
- Meg Lanning – 126 for Australia v Ireland, March 2014
- Beth Mooney – 117 not out for Australia v England, November 2017
- Shandre Fritz – 116 not out for South Africa v Netherlands, October 2010
- Deandra Dottin – 112 not out for West Indies v South Africa, May 2010
- Deandra Dottin – 112 for West Indies v Sri Lanka, October 2017
- Danni Wyatt – 100 for England v Australia, November 2017
England were on 27-2 when Wyatt skied a leading edge off spinner Molly Strano straight up, only for Healy to misjudge the flight and drop a simple chance.
Even then England looked far from capable of bettering their own record chase of 165 against Australia in 2009 to salvage a draw from an Ashes in which they were “lacking in a few areas”, according to coach Mark Robinson.
Yet Healy’s drop appeared to spread tension throughout the Australia fielders, the wicketkeeper spilling another easy opportunity with Knight on 24 – the fourth drop in the space of about 15 minutes after Strano and Schutt’s mistakes.
They recovered to a degree to take three late wickets but Wilson’s impudent ramp shot to the boundary for victory capped a disappointing end to an otherwise fine series from Rachael Haynes’ team.
Australia won two of the three one-day internationals to take a 4-2 lead in the series before the solitary Test match was drawn, earning another two points for each side.
The home side then won the first of three T20 internationals to lead 8-4 and ensure they would at least retain the Women’s Ashes but England won the last two to secure an 8-8 finish.
‘We’re gutted we didn’t win the Ashes’ – reaction
England’s Danni Wyatt, speaking to Test Match Special: “I tried a bit too hard in the first six overs, I lost my shape a little bit. But I backed myself and swung hard and it paid off. I was quite lucky, but you have to make it count when someone drops you, and I made it count.
“To contribute to a record chase is a special feeling. Heather batted really well – she backed herself and hit the ball in her areas. Outstanding by the skipper.
“It was hard sitting out for the ODIs and the Test match so I had to make the T20s count.”
England captain Heather Knight, speaking to Test Match Special: “What a game it was. I thought they had too many, but there is a hell of a lot of fight in this team and to level at 8-8 makes me really proud.
“We lost a few early wickets but it was a belter of a pitch so boundaries were easy to come by. I was just trying to get Danni on strike.
“We’re gutted we didn’t win the Ashes but to draw the series is the next best thing. It was a great innings from Beth Mooney. It’s tough for her to be on the losing side. What a game and what a spectacle for women’s cricket.”
Australia captain Rachael Haynes, speaking to BT Sport: “I certainly thought it was well within our grasp to win the match. It was disappointing. I guess it’s true, catches win matches, and we put a few down.
“Beth has been outstanding. She’s been hitting everywhere. She’s worked extremely hard on her game. For her to produce in international cricket is really exciting.”