With one Ashes series lost, Australia are in danger of defeat in another after falling behind in the women’s event in England.
As England’s men were wrapping up a comprehensive series win on Sunday, the women secured an impressive five-wicket win in a rain-shortened third one-day international at Hove.
The defeat means England lead the multi-format series by two points with three matches to play – all Twenty20 games.
Australia must win two of the three remaining matches to draw the series and retain the women’s Ashes, while only victory in all three would allow them to win the series outright.
Steady overnight rain on England’s south coast meant the start of play was delayed by more than three hours, resulting in the game being reduced to 36 overs per side.
Australia looked to have set a tough target after scoring 4-203 on the back of opener Meg Lanning’s 64.
But a superb 126-run second-wicket partnership from England’s Heather Knight (69) and Sarah Taylor (64) set up the victory for the hosts.
Both scored at better than a run a ball before being dismissed within two overs of each other to give Australia some hope.
The wickets slowed England’s run chase but Lydia Greenway (18) and Natalie Sciver (18 not out) steered England to 5-204 with with 16 balls to spare.
Erin Osborne was Australia’s best bowler with 3-49.
Earlier, Lanning received good support from dual international Ellyse Perry (45 off 40) and Alex Blackwell (35 off 35), who were both unbeaten at the end of Australia’s innings.
The series continues in Chelmsford on Tuesday.
Top-ranked Australia arechasing their first Ashes win on English soil since 2001.
CHASING RUNS: Lydia Greenway steering England towards victory. Picture: Getty