Australia has levelled the Women’s Ashes series with a 63-run win over England.
Playing at Bristol on Thursday, visiting skipper Meg Lanning compiled her sixth one-day international hundred then broke England’s opening partnership with a fine run-out.
England captain Charlotte Edwards recorded her 46th ODI half-century in response but England’s middle order were unable to build on the work of their top three as they attempted to surpass Australia’s 259 for six.
Edwards wanted early scalps after inserting Australia at the Bristol County Ground but Nicole Bolton (37) and Elyse Villani (35) put on 65 for the first wicket.
Rebecca Grundy forced the breakthrough, having Villani caught behind, before Anya Shrubsole bowled Bolton.
But Lanning combined with Ellyse Perry to compile 132 for the third wicket. The former was in brilliant form, though survived on 72 when shelled by Sarah Taylor while Katie Cross could not hold a difficult return catch after the Australian skipper had added 11 more.
Lanning reached her ton from 92 balls before being stumped for 104 off Natalie Sciver with 15 balls of the innings left, by which time Perry had fallen two runs short of a seventh successive ODI fifty when she fell to Heather Knight.
England’s record successful chase is 243 but their response started well, with Edwards and Knight putting on 92 for the first wicket.
Lanning forced the breakthrough with a direct hit from midwicket to oust a diving Knight, who had been sent back by her skipper after attempting a quick single.
Edwards was soon bowled by Megan Schutt (four for 47) and Amy Jones followed without scoring to Jess Jonassen.
Jonassen took the key scalp of Taylor, who had raced to 43 from 39 deliveries, and when Tuesday’s matchwinning partnership of Lydia Greenway (20) and Natalie Sciver (three) were both dismissed by Sarah Coyte England’s chances were gone.
Katherine Brunt added a rapid 21 at the death before running out of partners as Australia tore through England’s lower order.
England beat the Southern Stars by four wickets with 26 balls to spare in Tuesday’s series opener in Taunton.