Random Thoughts: Women’s Ashes Test Day 2

Worse Days

England have had worse days – indeed they’ve had worse days in the past year… just! (It was a day short of a year ago (August 13th 2014) when they were bowled out for 92 by India at Wormsley.) But if this wasn’t a new low, it still plumbed awfully close to those depths.

It wasn’t so much the score – 168 certainly isn’t a number which comes with embarrassment automatically attached. It was more the manner of the performance that was just so abject. Lauren Winfield got a very good ball; but that aside, the Australians weren’t especially good; it’s simply that England were, frankly, pretty bad.

Pressure

The key to England’s shocker was their inability to deal with pressure. And the pressure was certainly upon them quite soon after lunch, as Sarah Taylor fell 100 runs short of that elusive maiden Test century to leave the side reeling at 7/2.

That brought Edwards to the crease and she alone among England’s batsmen looked comfortable out there, because she has the experience and the temperament to deal with Test cricket, which all the rest of the top-order seem to lack once they actually get out into the middle.

(And you have to ask again why Edwards wasn’t opening? Especially given that she basically did open today… just with 2 wickets already down!)

After Edwards departed, the only other England player who made any real headway with the bat in terms of strike-rate was a bowler – top-scorer Katherine Brunt. Why? Because by the time she came in England were already stuffed, so there was no pressure – she could play with a freedom apparently beyond everyone else higher up the order, whose collective strike-rates averaged just 23. (Which is fine if you stay in for 50 overs… but somewhat less fine if it’s more like 50 balls.)

Brunt v Jonassen

I think it is safe to say these two won’t be going on a hot date any time soon – there was a definite “daggers-at-dawn” moment from Katherine Brunt yesterday, which Jess Jonassen laughed off at the time; but it was Brunt who had the last laugh first thing this morning, clearly taking much pleasure in depriving “JJ” of her début century; and again in the late afternoon, as she came down the track and dispatched the Aussie spinner over mid on to give England’s supporters at least something to cheer about in what was otherwise as depressing a day as I can remember.

Lightning Once… Lightning Twice

The result against India last summer could be written off by England fans at the time as a freak. But lightning now seems to be striking for a second time – it is almost as if someone up there doesn’t like us; and it isn’t much fun.

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4 thoughts on “Random Thoughts: Women’s Ashes Test Day 2

  1. You’ve got some classic lines there Syd. My favourites have to be:

    “It wasn’t so much the score… But it was the manner of the performance that was just so abject” Just bang on. There’s digging in, but then there’s excavation and falling down a mine shaft!

    “Sarah Taylor fell 100 runs short of that elusive maiden Test century” Haha, good one, but she was probably coming in too high up the order. Most glove-butlers as you put it come in at six or seven.

    “the only other player who made … headway with the bat in terms of strike-rate was …Brunt…By the time she came in England were already stuffed, so there was no pressure – she could play with a freedom apparently beyond everyone else higher up the order”

    Yes, Clare Connor commentating on the TV coverage said that England would have to do a big review of this innings to find out why they didn’t score runs faster. Yes, it’s a massive mystery to no one except the ECB. One step short of Moores and his data. The players are afraid of failure because they get dropped too quickly after low scores. And they had obviously (or so it seemed) been given explicit instructions not to give their wickets away – that’s not how to do it.

    And England don’t play enough matches. A “New Zealand-esque” renaissance has yet to happen in the women’s game. Australia could lead it, but we’re giving them no reason to. And then there’s the conspicuous absence of Jones, Wyatt et al…it’s all a clear demonstration that the current contract/academy setup is not working as well as it should.

    “The result against India last summer could be written off by England fans at the time as a freak” Not so sure if it was the fans, or the ECB management that did that.

    At one point between 6 and 7 p.m. Sky TV were almost asking basically “Why are you still watching this?” with their repeated advertising of T20 Blast cricket on the other channel as England hobbled along. Think this might be the first & last women’s Test they broadcast, unfortunately. Paul Allott in particular sounding a bit disinterested.

    It’s a shame, because we do have a close-ish series with plenty of intrigue and lots of positives like the attendance and media interest as well.

    Another prediction: Weather permitting, by the end of tomorrow the Test could be all but over, and so the Ashes. Slow batting doesn’t augur well for T20. Maybe this Australian team really are just too good not to win the Ashes back. I suspect the ECB will be telling themselves that, anyway.

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  2. Anyone familiar with women’s Test cricket must have done a double-take when they heard it was being televised. At an average of 2 runs per over scoring rate it really was a risk and, sorry, but the first 2 days have done little to draw in the viewers (especially the mind-numbing approach taken by England’s batting).

    Lottie’s spin (because much of what she says is rhetoric) about a positive approach is an insult to the intelligence of those that follow the game. Words (especially the vanilla ECB controlled blurb) are cheap. Perhaps someone with a media pass and access to a press conference might ask her to elaborate on how England have shown a positive approach in this match.

    The 2 points above pale into insignificance compared to flack that should to aimed at the selectors.

    1. Select Wilson instead of Jones in the squad ….. in order to carry the drinks. What the heck is the point of bringing someone into the squad to carry drinks ? This move is even more bonkers when it was known that Lottie would bat No4, therefore Winfield would have to open, therefore where the heck was Wilson going to be fitted in ?

    2. Announce the Test squad just before the 3 day Academy v Australia match (a match in which the player just dropped scores a 155*). Brilliant timing.

    3. Drop the one player who has scored a 100 this season in a multi-day red ball match (trial at Loughborough) …… now 2 centuries of course.

    4. Bat Taylor at No 3 – despite a poor Test record (by her standards) and despite having spent 100 overs as a keeper. Not only could Jones have taken on some of the keeping (perhaps towards the end of the innings but she could have batted at No3 and allowed Taylor to come in at No6).

    Whether or not Amy Jones would have made any difference isn’t the point. The point is a completely chaotic selection process – but we all have the solace of knowing that England have real strength in depth (according to Ms Connor) ……. a depth really beautifully illustrated by Wilson getting no further than the drinks cabinet.

    Even if we win this Test (and we still can), someone needs to get a serious grip on the whole setup because the cracks have been there for some time and no one seems to know how to fill them.

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  3. I don’t expect a renaissance akin to the men either because there is not enough test cricket, But when all is said and done the Aussies are moving on the game to a new level that England have to aspire too in all formats (but mainly using T20 / ODI skills). Today England only seemed to have a plan A to survive not counter attack and thrive. Some of these players have been part of the system for so long and have not evolved. Is this showing their limitations or of the academy system?

    Not making excuses for them but any chance England had of grafting their way closer to parity was scuppered by the umpires, who also obviously felt the pressure. One of the LBW decisions was marginal at best the other was worthy of a Sunday game of cricket on a recreation ground! Why have a 3rd Umpire without the systems to help the men in the middle.

    Just look at the women’s football there are flicks and tricks on show and some genuine stars have come to the fore. The WSL will bring a different sort of pressure for the England squad and academy players to step up and warrant the investment of third parties in addition to the ECB money and TV coverage.

    Kent CCC hosted an excellent event though and the wicket seems to offer something for bat and ball.

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