England back in the contest after big hitting win
ENGLAND has played itself back into the Women's Ashes after recording its first win of the series.
The 20 run win in Coffs Harbour means the tourists trail Australia four points to two with four matches of the multi format series remaining.
The next match, the historic day/night Test match at North Sydney, is vital as it's worth twice as many points as the limited overs fixtures.
England's win came after a strong performance batting first when it made an imposing 8-284.
Captain Heather Knight said today's performance level was closer to what she expects from her team.
"I think it's up there," she said.
"We've probably still got a little bit left in the tank. We lost wickets when we trying to set a score and that sort of slowed our momentum down a little bit and then we couldn't kick on past 300.
"So there's still definitely scope for more big scores from the girls and I think obviously a few catches went down but I think we bowled pretty well, particularly in the back end we were very clinical in what we did."
Knight led her team superbly with the bat making an unbeaten 89 off 80 deliveries, cashing in on the platform laid by a pair of half centuries above her from Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Taylor.
All three took a turn of holding the record for the highest score in a Women's Ashes ODI since the multi-format contests began.
Knight also passed the 2,000 runs mark during her knock.
For Knight the individual accolades meant little when compared to the importance of the win.
"I tried not to notice when I got 2000 to be honest, I was more worried about how were we going to get up to around that 290, 300 mark and I obviously wanted to kick on having got a few starts in the last two games and hadn't really gone on with it," she said.
Megan Schutt had been Australia's leading wicket taker in the opening two matches and her good run continued, picking up another four wickets including the scalps of the dangerous Taylor and Beaumont.
The spin trio of Amanda-Jade Wellington, Ashleigh Gardner and Jess Jonassen that had performed well to this point bowled 26 overs between them but conceded almost a run a ball, rarely troubling the opposition.
Australia made a rapid-fire start to the run chase with Alyssa Healy and Nicole Bolton producing another fine opening stand to blunt the new ball threat offered by England's Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole.
Healy took full advantage of being given an early life to make a hard hitting 71, her highest score in any form at international level but it wasn't enough.
Two overs were lost due to a rain interruption early in the Australian innings and the target was reduced to 278.
Healy's entertaining dig and Bolton's supportive knock of 62 were the only true resistance offered by the home team.
Alex Blackwell, playing her 250th match across all three formats for Australia, was the rock of the late overs scoring 37 but while she was continuing to lose partners around her it made any bid for late heroics a virtually impossible task.
With the required run rate edging above a run a ball, Australia lost a string of wickets to skied shots as the need for quick runs increased.
Alex Hartley claimed three wickets while the economical bowling of Anya Shrubsole and Natalie Sciver constantly made life difficult for the Australians.