Meg Lanning acknowledges the crowd's applause after reaching her ton.
Meg Lanning acknowledges the crowd's applause after reaching her ton.

Lanning smashes record in T20 annihilation

FINALLY the Aussies can celebrate.

Australia has taken an unassailable lead in the Ashes series on the back of an incredible T20 innings from captain Meg Lanning at the Essex County Ground.

A whitewash of the ODI series, the drawn Test and now this 93-run victory in the first of three T20 encounters means Australia has retained the Ashes after winning them  back from England in 2015 and then defending on home soil.

Lanning sparkled with an unbeaten 133 from 63 balls in front of a sellout crowd of more than 6000, breaking her own record for the highest individual score in the format.

She peppered the crowd with seven sixes and struck 17 boundaries in a devastating display of power hitting.

Superbly supported by Beth Mooney (54 from 33) and some inept fielding - she was dropped by Tammy Beaumont at backward point when on 85 - Lanning helped Australia finish their innings on 3-226.

On the back of some superb bowling from Ellyse Perry (2-11) and Megan Schutt (3-25), England were never in the hunt during the run chase.

"I'm just really pleased and proud of the group that we were able to win at such a ground it's called the Fortress. To come here and play so well was great," Lanning said.

"There was a lot of talk about England never losing here ... it was nice to get the victory and by such a big margin, and rightly we'll celebrate tonight.

"It was my day today, I was able to cash in, and it was certainly nice to contribute.

"It was a pretty sweet victory."

Lanning’s century included 17 fours and seven sixes. Picture: Henry Browne/Getty Images
Lanning’s century included 17 fours and seven sixes. Picture: Henry Browne/Getty Images

With two T20s to go - the next on Sunday - England are looking at going winless against a dominant Australia.

"It's been closer than what scoreboard suggests, we've been able to win the big key moments in games and get some momentum, and were keen to keep going," Lanning said.

England could only manage the same number of runs as Lanning and the match was all but decided in the first three overs as they slumped to 3-12.

Lannings innings of 133 came off only 63 deliveries. Picture: Henry Browne/Getty Images
Lannings innings of 133 came off only 63 deliveries. Picture: Henry Browne/Getty Images

England had not lost at Chelmsford in 14 internationals and had affectionately called it their fortress.

Not with Lanning holding the keys and a run rate of a touch over 14 just six overs in.

Lauren Winfield and Katherine Brunt provided some resistance but while they were scoring 10 an over,  the run rate had shot up to 26 with five overs to go.

Ellyse Perry struck early with the ball for Australia. Picture: Henry Browne/Getty Images
Ellyse Perry struck early with the ball for Australia. Picture: Henry Browne/Getty Images

England won the toss and decided to put Australia in, with Amy Jones taking the gloves. She replaced Sarah Taylor, who had pulled out of the side due to mental health concerns.

She  will miss the rest of the series and has been replaced in the squad by Fran Wilson.

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