This was another ruthless performance from England; but it wasn’t the “same” performance. Moving out the boundaries gave the batsmen different challenges – you could see they were looking to bunt it short and snatch a lot of sharp singles, for example; and Nat Sciver played very differently – knowing there were an extra few yards to find those sixes, she looked instead to find the gaps more along the floor.
Again… Pakistan weren’t awful, but their fielding would be one area where they could really improve things in time for next year’s World Cup. Talking of which… you’d still definitely think they ought to qualify – they might not have been able to derail the England train on this tour, but they will be hard work for the likes of Ireland nonetheless, and if they aren’t back in 2017, it will be a surprise.
Mark Robinson (generous with his time, as always, to talk after the close) mentioned that England always intended to try to give Hartley a game in this 3rd ODI of the series; and the only person more delighted than us to see her receive her cap today, appeared to be Hartley herself! Spinners have the hardest job on debut – there is so little margin for error with the art – but Hartley got a good first over in, which was important.
She got a little bit expensive at the end of her first spell, with her economy rate edging towards 10 in overs 3-through-5, so Knight withdrew her; and she then came back later with a strong second spell, with an economy rate of just 3 in her final 5 overs. She didn’t take a wicket, but it was a very good response nonetheless and we will be seeing her again in an England shirt, for sure.
This was Brunt’s first 5-fer since 2011, when she took 5-18 in an ODI against Australia at Wormsley. We mentioned in an earlier Random Thoughts that it is hard for her, because her reputation precedes her and the batsman usually try to just see her off, so it was great to see her get a reward and her name of the board again!
They say sometimes with goalkeepers in football that they’ve had a good game if you don’t notice them; and it is very much the same with wicket keepers. Has anyone noticed Amy Jones? No – not really, because she hasn’t brought the attention to herself by doing anything horrendous… and that’s the way we like it.
TB has been England’s outstanding player in this series. Presented with a gilt-edged invitation to succeed, she did so in No Trumps and you can’t ask more than that. There will be harder series to come, but she has probably bought her ticket for a long time to come on the strength of these performances, and she deserves it.