Australia sealed an Ashes series victory with a five-wicket win over England in the second one-day-international in Melbourne.
Having been put into bat, England – at 40-1 after 10 overs – lost six wickets for 28 runs before being bowled out for just 129 in 45.2 overs.
Ellyse Perry picked up 3-12 and Tahlia McGrath continued her fantastic Ashes series by taking 3-4 in 3.2 overs.
Left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen (2-25) took the key wickets of Nat Sciver – who struggled to get going with eight off 25 balls – and England captain Heather Knight, for 18, in consecutive overs.
A steady 39-run partnership between Amy Jones (28) and Sophie Ecclestone (32 not out) ensured the tourists avoided a humiliating score.
England’s bowlers faced an uphill struggle, but were offered a glimmer of hope when Australia fell to 18-2 and 49-3 in reply, with captain Meg Lanning bowled by Kate Cross for a duck.
But all-rounder Perry then starred with the bat, hitting a match-winning 40 off 64 balls, and Ashleigh Gardner scored 31 off 34 balls as Australia reached the target with 14.4 overs to spare.
As holders, Australia had already retained the Ashes by winning the first ODI in Canberra and making sure the series could not be lost, but the win secures a series victory with the hosts now leading the multi-format series 10-4 and just the one ODI to play.
England head to the final match of the series – at the same ground on Monday at 23:05 GMT – still searching for their first win of the tour.
Aussie bowlers star as England falter
Despite the World Cup beginning in New Zealand next month – and having already retained the Ashes – any suggestion of complacency from Australia was quickly quashed with a terrific bowling performance.
Perry, 31, rolled back the years to take her first ODI wickets since October 2019, while Jonassen formed a formidable bowling partnership with leg-spinner Alana King.
King took the important wicket of opener Lauren Winfield-Hill – who looked solid in a knock of 24 off 36 balls but once again failed to convert a good start – which sparked the England collapse.
Between overs 12 and 23, King and Jonassen conceded just 21 runs as England’s middle-order lacked fluency and became increasingly frustrated.
Perry then returned to the attack to dismiss Sophia Dunkley for two and Charlie Dean – in the England team as a replacement for Katherine Brunt who was out due to a slight niggle – for a duck, before McGrath took the final three wickets.
Australia can also credit some outstanding fielding for the win. Alyssa Healy took a superb catch to dismiss Tammy Beaumont, the wicket-keeper athletically leaping to her right as the ball nestled into the webbing of her right glove.
Healy’s catch was then trumped by an even more spectacular grab – and arguably the best of the series – by skipper Lanning to dismiss Danni Wyatt for a duck.
Fielding at first slip, Lanning dived full stretch and clutched on with her fingertips, before hurling the ball in the air and being surrounded by jubilant team-mates.
Perry leads Aussies to first home Ashes win since 2010/11
With England needing quick wickets, seamer Kate Cross – who took 3-33 in the first ODI – was once again the most threatening bowler, albeit slightly expensive.
The seamer – who finished with 2-46 off eight overs – found some slight seam movement to bowl Lanning for a four-ball duck and broke up a 36-run partnership when she hit McGrath’s middle stump with one which kept straight.
But Perry – a veteran of 119 ODIs – reminded us just why she is considered one of, if not the, best all-rounders in history.
Her knock included five boundaries and one six down the ground off Cross, who then got revenge with a smart pick up and throw at mid-on to run out Perry.
With 32 runs still needed, Gardner increased the intensity – hitting three fours and a six – to see her side over the line.
The win prevented a repeat of the 2017/18 Ashes down under, where Australia lost the final two matches which resulted in a drawn series – and it is Australia’s first Ashes series victory at home since 2010/11.
England and Australia will both play their first game of next month’s World Cup against each other on 5 March in Hamilton, New Zealand.
‘We’re not far away’ – reaction
England all-rounder Nat Sciver on Test Match Special: “We’re looking ahead to the World Cup now and making sure we put things right before that and everyone taking responsibility for their role and what the team needs for them. Lessons learned.”
Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry: “The last couple of weeks has been an amazing contest. It certainly hasn’t been easy for our group. To win the Ashes with a game to spare is lovely. There were some really great performances today.”
Former England spinner Alex Hartley: “Australia are a very, very strong side. I think England had gone toe-to-toe against Australia until today. England did bowl really well but there just weren’t enough runs on the board to create pressure.”