Random Thoughts: Women’s Ashes 1st ODI

* Australia Lost It Early

Speaking after the match, Ellyse Perry hit the nail on the head: “We didn’t get off to a great start with the bat.” And yes, that really was the difference.

Jess Jonassen (career ODI Strike Rate 87) made just 5 off 17 balls (SR 29); bringing to the crease Meg Lanning (career ODI SR 97) who then scored only 6 off 18 balls (SR 33).

In short, this was not the kind of start the Southern Stars are used to making; and they were playing mental catch-up with themselves ever after, leading to some risky running in the last 15 overs, and 4 of their last 5 wickets falling to Run Outs. 

* Villani Holding Back

Ellyse Villani’s Strike Rate was a more respectable 69; but she looked timid at the crease, as if she was consciously holding back her more natural attacking instincts; and her tame dismissal reflected that – caught at square leg, basically not even playing a shot.

* Blackwell Down The Pitch

Alex Blackwell had a couple of big LBW shouts against her, but they were never going to be given because she was coming a long, long way down the pitch to almost every ball. This was a definite tactic – she wasn’t doing it for Berkshire last month! England need to look at how they can counter this, maybe by bowling for the stumping?

* Sciver NOT Smashing It

Nat Sciver made a career-best 65 in her last match in New Zealand. Today she went one better – 66 off 75 balls, and a well-deserved Man of the Match medal to boot!

I think she looked more relaxed at the crease here than I’ve ever seen her before, and she was playing with a grace and elegance which she has sometimes lacked – not trying to smash it out of the ground, but pivoting and pirouetting into her shots.

Nat is a supremely fit individual – probably the most athletic of the current squad – but she seems to have realised that cricket is about more than being able to bench-press the ball into the stands; and it is a lesson that others, particularly some on the fringes of the team, could well learn!

* Elwiss To The Manor Born

Georgia Elwiss hasn’t had the best start to the season at county level, but pulling the England shirt on today (for the first time in over a year) she looked to the manor born from the first ball, and you get the sense that this could be her summer.

A (slight) surprise selection she may have been, but Elwiss has definitely NOT left the building! (If this form continues, expect to see her batting higher up the order too, by September!)