England defeated Australia 263 for 8 (Mooney 81*, Sciver-Brunt 2-38) by two wickets with a total of 267 for 8 (Knight 75*, Beaumont 47, Gardner 3-42).

England’s two-wicket victory in the first ODI at Bristol has tied the women’s Ashes at six apiece. And they accomplished this by winning their highest-ever 50-over chase, handing Australia their third straight loss—something they haven’t had since February 2016.

After winning the Test match and first T20I, Australia lead 6-0, but three straight victories brought England back on par with two left to play. And all it took to see how upset England was and how much they had done to keep the Ashes alive was to see Heather Knight throw her bat away after hitting the winning boundary through cocover-pointnd embrace partner Kate Cross.

To reach their objective of 264, Knight had to put on a one-woman show, as seen by her undefeated 75. Cross strode out to pull, drive, and even scoop her way to 19 not out as the victory was gained with 11 deliveries to spare just as she was running out of partners on the other hand to merely exist with her.

As usual in nervous affairs, errors abounded. They are primarily from the hosts. Australia’s innings contained seven squandered opportunities in total. On her way to 81 not out, Beth Mooney received two of these gifts, enabling Alyssa Healy’s team to post 263 for 8.

It appeared to be above average, and when England threw away a quick start of 103 for 1 in the 13th over, retaining the Ashes trophy and some reflection on how Knight’s team let it slip away looked likely. But all that can wait now, thanks to her and Cross.

The 28th 50-plus performance in ODIs by the England skipper broke a streak of four failures since 57 in the first innings of the Trent Bridge Test. Similar to Alice Capsey, who recovered her form at Lord’s with 46 not out, Tammy Beaumont put on a second-wicket stand of 74 from 56 deliveries.

The two joined forces in the fourth over on the wicket of Sophia Dunkley, by which time England had received 18 of its previous 29 runs by extras from Australia’s opening quicks Darcie Brown and Ellyse Perry. The hosts’ 84 was a new powerplay record by the 10-over point. Midway through the eighth over, they passed Australia’s comparable total of 63 for 1, which Capsey took for 16 on her own with four boundaries, including three consecutive ones to start the over and remove Perry from the assault.

A squared series with two to play appeared certain when Beaumont hit the first delivery of the 12th over down the ground for the first six of the game to bring England to 100 before Capsey registered the second over long-on with a fielder stationed back.

However, Australia got a whiff thanks to Beaumont’s expulsion between those strikes and Capsey’s inability to clear long-on a second time. A recurring tension developed when the vice-captain, Nat Sciver-Brunt, reverse-swept Jess Jonassen to Georgia Wareham around the corner on 42, ending a tenacious stand between the captain and vice-captain.

Healy took advantage of the tension by switching up her choices, frustrating Danni Wyatt, and eventually drawing a false shot from her as Jonassen took a crisp low catch. Danni Wyatt was unable to get enough on her shot to beat backward point.

Even at that point, the required run rate of the final 16 overs was a doable 70. The wicket maiden Wareham sent down, accounting for Amy Jones, did not alter the necessary rate since Knight hit fours in each of the following two overs. She reached her half-century from 69 deliveries with 11 overs remaining, with England still needing 47 runs to win.

When Sophie Ecclestone, who had been dropped on four, boundlessly tried for a slog-sweep straight to the fielder at deep midwicket for five, and then Sarah Glenn punched straight to cover, it became obvious that she would have to get the rest of them.

But Jonassen, who had only given up one four in her previous 38 deliveries, was beaten by Cross, who hit back-to-back boundaries off her. Ash Gardner was slog-swept by Knight over the fence at midwicket to turn the tide in England’s favor, but Cross skillfully slid one past the keeper and sliced the seasoned Schutt over cover to tie the game. In a way, Cross’s decision to let Knight score the winning runs off a full toss to begin the following over embodied her consideration for her captain at the very end.

The most expensive falls also tended to be the simplest. Ecclestone’s first slide on six caused Perry to lose one of her three lives. However, Mooney’s runs on 19 (dropped off a Glenn full toss by Cross at mid-off) and 39 (Jones missing a stumping after the left-hander sprinted past an Ecclestone ball), enabled her to see things through the 50 overs. Those two hitters add up to 97 extra runs from the first miss to the final ejection.

The left-hander entered the crease at the beginning of the thirteenth over and had to exert a great deal of effort to use every muscle and vein to get what she did. When Healy won the toss, she made a wise choice to bat first: The facts supported taking the lead and putting up a respectable score, and the innings might not have held together without Mooney’s support.

Just six fours out of her 99 deliveries indicated how laborious it was. Litchfield and Perry provided her with a platform with their 61-run stand, the highest of the game before McGrath and Gardner’s cameo efforts kept Mooney going.

After Gardner and Annabel Sutherland were both bowled by Lauren Bell in the span of three deliveries, there was only a brief hiccup as 55 runs were scored by Mooney and Jonassen. The score was raised to 263 thanks to a burst of 29 from the final three overs, which included a quick 12 off 6 from Wareham. They were contained for the final 10 overs.

Not only are the women’s ashes alive, but they are also level. There is one clear-form team as we travel to the Ageas Bowl for the second ODI on Sunday, but it is not the best team in the world.