Dead Rubber Bump
Dead rubbers are funny things – sometimes they bounce, as the Southern Stars did in their last series against England in Australia, where they romped home in the last two T20s despite having lost the Women’s Ashes; and other times they don’t, as when a clearly exhausted Australian team collapsed to one of their heaviest ever T20 defeats in Durham at the end of the 2013 tour.
Yet if this was a bounce, it wasn’t a very convincing one – really more of a bump. England’s openers bowled very well once again; but the batting was as fragile as ever and if anyone really believes this lumbering victory gives them Momentum Going Into The World T20™ then I’m afraid they need their head examined.
Lauren Can’t Win-Field
Lauren Winfield is a fine batsman who has scored oodles of runs at county, averaging 63 in domestic cricket this season. Obviously she is clearly struggling in an England shirt, but her tame (virtually identikit) dismissals at Chelmsford and Hove were indicative of mental not technical flaws in her game.
England seem to wonder why players like Winfield and Amy Jones bat at international level like they are afraid to say boo to a mouse; but maybe it is because they constantly stand on the precipice of being dropped, and that’s a scary place to be!
So cutting Winfield today was the worst thing England could possibly have done – reinforcing all those negative preconceptions going on in her head; and perpetuating the cycle of mental failure which bedogs her. It England man-management at its absolute worst; and especially crazy given the dead rubber nature of this game.
Sciver Owes Shrubsole
Nat Sciver took home career-best figures with both bat and ball today; but in the latter case she really owes a lot to Anya Shrubsole. England’s swing-star set the trap for the Aussies with her opening 4-over spell of 4/11, leaving them under severe pressure. Sciver then reaped the rewards as the Southern Stars looked to hit out, as first Ellyse Perry played-on off a pretty nothing delivery, and then Blackwell, Harris and Coyte all got caught as they attempted to force the pace through the final third of the innings.
Perry Ms Consistent
Ellyse Perry scored 16 off 21 balls today and took 1 wicket – it certainly wasn’t a match-winning performance. In fact, looking back over the whole series, Perry didn’t really produce the archetypal “match winning performance” at all. Her best displays were either overshadowed by others – Lanning in the ODIs and Jonassen in the Test – or in a losing cause, at Taunton.
And yet when all the numbers had been totted-up, there she was – at the top of the table with both bat and ball, having scored more runs (264) and bagged more wickets (16) than anyone else, to take the Player of the Women’s Ashes Series award for a second consecutive time.
Being a great all-rounder isn’t actually about the “great” performance – it is about consistency; and that is what Perry brings in bottles to this Australian team. The ICC are shortly supposed to be publishing new “combined” rankings for women’s cricket – if Ellyse Perry’s name isn’t at the top of the all-rounders list… then there is something wrong with the list!