Random Thoughts: Women’s Ashes 3rd ODI

* Wickets Matter In 50-Over Cricket

As in the previous two games, England’s key bowlers – Brunt and Shrubsole – received plaudits aplenty for keeping things tight. Shrubsole in particular was lauded for costing just 25 runs from her 10 overs.

But the problem is that neither of them took any wickets.

In the 1st ODI (which England won) early wickets put that little bit of pressure on Australia’s middle-order and kept the total slightly under-par. This time, Australia got off to a much smoother start, sailed through the middle overs, and were able to throw the bat at it at the end, delivering a total which was perhaps as much as 30 runs over par; and which England were simply unable to live with.

* Australia’s Coaches Deliver

Several people on Twitter commented that England were hitting the ball directly to fielders – they weren’t! The fields were simply so expertly placed (and clinically adjusted for each batsman) that it just looked like they were. Basically, the Australian coaching and captaincy team delivered a tactical master-class out there today.

Similarly the decision to move Healy up the order was perfect – bringing on the big-hitter just when the innings needed some impetus. In fact… I did wonder at the time if it might have been to England’s advantage if Sciver had “accidentally” dropped Bolton!

(And yes… although England later pulled a similar trick by moving Brunt up the order, at the point they did it, it was already far too late.)

* England Can Bowl… But Australia Can Bat

I still think England’s bowling attack is slightly stronger than Australia’s; but the problem is that Australia’s batting is orders of magnitude stronger than England’s. With England, once you get Charlotte Edwards out, you know you are already half way there. Whereas with Australia, once you get rid of Villani you get Lanning… then Perry… then (today) Healy… then Blackwell – only then do you get down to someone (today, Jonassen) who wouldn’t immediately walk into any other team in the world, England included.

* Australia Are Now Odds-On… But England Can Hope

Though Tuesday’s performance offered a glimpse of what we all know England can do, in our hearts it has always been clear that these Ashes were going to be an uphill struggle against the undisputed World Champions. Today just confirmed that. Nevertheless, there is still hope for England – if they can win the Test, they then need to win just one of the 3 T20s to retain the 14-billion-year-old* trophy. And that sounds doable… right…???

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* Well… if our friends at Cricket Australia can claim the trophy is 300 years old on the grounds that it was made from a 300 year old tree, I figure we might as well take this to its logical conclusion, based upon the age of the atoms which comprised the tree!

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