|Australia 263-8 (50 overs): Mooney 81* (99); Sciver-Brunt 2-38|
|England 267-8 (48.1 overs): Knight 75* (86); Gardner 3-42|
|England won by two wickets; points-based series level at 6-6|
England levelled the women’s Ashes multi-format series in thrilling fashion with a two-wicket win in the first one-day international in Bristol.
Captain Heather Knight finished unbeaten on 75 as England reached their target of 264 with 11 balls remaining – their highest successful run-chase in the format.
England lost three late wickets but number 10 Kate Cross remained unfazed, smashing four fours in her stunning cameo of 19.
It is England’s first ODI victory over the world champions since 2017.
The points-based series is beautifully poised at 6-6 with two ODIs to play, of which Australia only need to win one to retain the Ashes.
England started their chase in phenomenal style, reaching 84-1 from the 10-over powerplay with opener Tammy Beaumont scoring 47 from 42 balls, and the aggressive Alice Capsey blitzing a 34-ball 40.
Australia were uncharacteristically sloppy in the field, gifting England 16 extras in the first four overs as loose balls were punished to the boundary with ease.
Spinners Ash Gardner and Georgia Wareham were instrumental in dragging control back for Australia but Knight held firm as the middle to lower order stumbled, eventually finding company in Cross for a match-winning partnership of 32.
England were also ragged in the field, dropping five catches and missing a stumping as Beth Mooney was dropped on 19 and finished unbeaten on 81, but Australia’s batters failed to fully capitalise.
Australia, who had a lead of 6-0, had previously lost just one from 42 ODIs, and have now lost three consecutive games after England’s 2-1 T20 series win.
Swashbuckling England punish sloppy Australia
Before the series, England promised aggression with an awareness that the best way to take down the world’s best team is to attack them.
There were signs in the narrow Test-match defeat, there were passages of thrill in the T20 series victory, but it truly came to fruition in front of another packed crowd in Bristol.
England eventually made hard work of the chase, but Beaumont and Capsey’s powerplay efforts ensured they were so far ahead of the game they could get away with a little wobble.
Beaumont picked up from the Test match, where she scored a double-century, and latched on to all the width that was offered from Australia’s wayward seamers.
England had 27 runs after three overs – and had only scored 13 of them from the bat, as Darcie Brown and Ellyse Perry’s no-balls were followed by sprays down the leg side.
Dunkley fell for just eight but Beaumont found able support in 18-year-old Capsey, who treated world great Perry with disdain.
Gardner continued her fine series with three wickets to force Australia back into the game, and at 235-8 it seemed like a remarkable win was slipping out of England’s grasp.
But in a situation where the England of old may have crumbled, it was Australia who lost control, conceding four boundaries to Cross and a six to Knight as the hosts’ attacking intent was vindicated once more.
England’s stunning fightback continues
Every single game of cricket played in this Ashes summer has been a spectacle, and it does not seem to be slowing down any time soon.
The five-day Test match was a rollercoaster, the first two T20s were decided on the penultimate ball and by three runs respectively.
And through it all, England’s Ashes hopes are still alive.
Very few expected it. While Australia have said they are wary of England, and that they did not take a 6-0 lead for granted, their body language suggested otherwise.
Balls slipped through fingers, hands were on hips, heads dropped.
It is a feeling they are not used to, because their record does the intimidation for them even on the rare occasions where their skills are not at their best.
England still have a tough job ahead of them, because the visitors will come back with a vengeance at Southampton on Sunday.
They need to win the last two, or win one if the other is tied or washed out, but they have already done something that no team has ever done.
They have got this legendary and great Australia team rattled, and it has been captivating from the first ball to the last.