In the wake of something like Australia’s clinically emphatic victory at Bristol last Thursday, the temptation is always to reach for the shotgun; and indeed many of our readers indicated that they would: 85% of you voted for England to ring the changes in our (not very scientific!) poll, with a majority favouring bringing in Lauren Winfield at the expense of Amy Jones.
But I think it is their mindset England need to change, not their team.
Dropping Jones (or Elwiss) after one duff knock isn’t the answer – the batting failures on Thursday were collective. Heather Knight alone fell to a moment of brilliance – Lanning’s direct hit from midwicket. Otherwise as Megan Schutt admitted afterwards, on a pitch with no daemons in it Australia found that all they needed to do was bowl it full and straight and wait for England to fail to defend their stumps, as all 9 wickets to fall in England’s post-drinks collapse went either bowled or LBW.
So England need to get back to basics with the bat – defending the stumps might sound like a glib piece of advice to offer to a professional cricketer; but if you don’t do it, you’ll find yourself back in the pavilion, and it can be difficult to score runs from there!
England’s bowlers also need to learn some lessons. All those short-pitched bouncers might scare the bejeezus out of the batsmen you find at club or county level, but at the pinnacle of the game (at the pace the women bowl) it doesn’t work, and the Australians were happy to either ignore it or give it the treatment it deserved.
Indeed the Aussies themselves had found this out on Tuesday – the short stuff was ineffective; the coaches had clearly identified this; and by Thursday it was history.
If England can do what Australia did – listen to the coaches and get the basics right – they can stay in this series. If they can’t, it’s going to be a short game on Sunday… and an even shorter Test in two weeks time.