Game Set & Match?
With two games played, the Australians are already 4-0 up in this Women’s Ashes series, so (assuming all matches are completed) England now need to win the Test and three of the four remaining limited overs games to bring home the trophy which started life in a wok at Lords, back in 1998.
Can they do it? Yes, of course they can – England haven’t become a bad team overnight!
Will they? Um… let’s just say it doesn’t look as easy as it did this time last week!
England: Taking The Positives
- England didn’t bowl too badly; and Sophie Ecclestone looked “born to run”, bowling 10 overs and going at under 5 runs per over, the only England bowler to do so.
- Katherine Brunt passed 50 for only the second time in her long international career – fully 12 years after the first – an Ashes Test at Worcester, way back in 2005, when she came in at 10 and batted for over two hours, putting on 85 for England’s final 1st innings wicket in partnership with Isa Guha.
- Alex Hartley still hasn’t been dismissed in international cricket. And she took a very good catch to dismiss Tahlia McGrath, proving that she really isn’t a complete numpty! (Not pointing fingers, but it is telling that when Katherine Brunt dropped a pretty straightforward Caught & Bowled, it was all “There are no easy catches!” and “It happens – move on!”; whereas when Alex Hartley did it, it was more like “That was easy!” and “She’s rubbish – drop her!”)
England: Taking The … Not Quite So Positives
- If Hartley’s catch was good, Knight’s to dismiss Villani was even better, but Villani and McGrath were both dismissed on 1; and when it really mattered (Perry, on 41; and Haynes on 60) England dropped two relatively unexacting chances. Perry went on to make 67, and Haynes 89 – that’s 55 runs gone begging, which wouldn’t quite have won the game, but would have made it a damn sight closer!
- Brunt’s dismissal – That’s a paddlin’! Gunn’s dismissal – That’s a paddlin’! Wrap us up in woolly socks and call us Granddad, but sometimes the paddle-sweep isn’t the right shot to play… and those sometimes are ALL THE TIME when you are trying to save the game with only the tail still to come.
- Last time out, none of England’s batsmen exactly “failed” – they just didn’t “succeed” by going big or long. This time around, several of them failed, whilst none of them (the “recognised” batsmen) went big or long. We’re not calling for anyone to be dropped or anything at this stage in the series; but even with the best bowling in the world, if we don’t make the runs we won’t win too many matches.
Australia definitely “won” this game more than England “lost” it – 4 of their top 5 batsmen made 50s, and their innings was perfectly paced – building and building towards a total which was probably always going to be a bit too much for England, even without the dropped catches.
And then they finished England off with the ball, without Ellyse Perry, who it looks like didn’t deserve to be taken off – though she didn’t appear to realise this, as she didn’t even wait for the umpire’s say-so before reaching for her cap. But it seems that the playing conditions override the laws – so although the laws have changed to say that a delivery only has to be “high” for the bowler to be warned and then subsequently taken off; the playing conditions say that it also has to be “dangerous”, which the second of Perry’s deliveries really wasn’t.
From what I saw this morning I would question the standard of England’s fielding. Yes there are flashes of brilliance but maidens and pressure are created by consistent bowling, good fielding or a combination of both.
In most cases the fielding seemed to let Australia off the hook this morning. Setting an inner ring field is not easy to set batsmen, but it is vital that they cut off cheap runs and make the stops.
I used to see the England fielding as setting the standard in the women’s game, now I’m not so sure.
Lydia Greenway led the England Fielding by example for 14 years in taking catches,run outs and saving 20 runs a game–its left a massive gap.
The women’s game is moving on all the time, as evidenced by the Australia score of 296, and I think they scored 95 in the last 10. Unfortunately chasing that England were in a bit of a catch 22 – as they’d never chased down that many before they really didn’t seem sure how to go about it, e.g. what shots needed to be played early on, how many did they have to be on after 10, 20 overs etc. The Aussies seemed to score their runs so effortlessly, while England kept resorting to paddle sweeps and risky singles/twos to try and keep the board moving. This Aussie attack had two players score 170+ against them in the World Cup, but it’s hard to see an England player destroying them in the same way, as the team continue to specialise in making scores of 30 odd. I still feel we’re unlikely to beat the Aussies unless our bowlers have a great day and keep them to a below par score.
The worrying thing for England was they never looked like competing in this game, let alone winning it. Early in the first innings there already seemed to be an air of resignation to the performance.
The fielding is really letting them down but they dropped catches during the World Cup (famously so). The difference here is the reaction. Whereas in the summer the response seemed to be “don’t worry, another chance will come”, today heads dropped and the reaction seemed to be “oh well, that’s it then”.
Even with the contributions from the lower order, this was a trouncing. The specialist batsmen seem muddled and just aren’t imposing themselves on the game. The clear sense of purpose seen during the World Cup has gone missing.
While the talk before the series was Australia’s seeming lack of pace options, it’s England that look toothless in that department. The decision not to select players like Cross or Farrant is looking increasingly misjudged.
The Australians always seemed likely to be highly motivated for this series, and so it’s proved. Apart from the chance to atone for World Cup disappointment, this may also be the last chance for many of the squad to win an Ashes series on home soil.
Australia’s last home win was in 2011 when the ‘series’ (one Test match) was a very different prospect in terms of pressure and profile. Of the players aged 24 or over, only Perry is nailed on to be selected when the contest returns in 2020/21.
They’re a team that are playing like they have something to prove and appear to be relishing the contest.
England by contrast, look subdued and almost seem to be going through the motions towards an inevitable conclusion.
Who knows? Maybe the series will turn on its head over the next couple of games. On paper, there’s no reason why England shouldn’t be able to win the matches required to take home the trophy. On what we’ve seen so far, ii seems to me like the die is cast.
The comprehensive nature of this defeat is well illustrated by the fact the No 11 batsman not being dismissed made into the top 3 positives !
The England Womens Team regained The Ashes for the first time in 42 years at New Road,Worcester under Clare Connors captaincy in August 2005.Since then England have won 5 Ashes Series to Australias 2 victories.England won in Bowral in 2008 and also in Tasmania in 2014.Under the new points scoring system there have been 3 Ashes Series and England currently are 2-1 ahead.Experience plays a massive part in Ashes matches and CricInfo stats below showshow how important this is from a batting point of view:
Charlotte Edwards 1092 runs ODIs 605 runs T20
Sarah Taylor 856 runs ODIs 428 runs T20
Lydia Greenway 791 runs ODIs 451 runs T20
Claire Taylor 842 runs ODIs 177 runs T20
Heather Knight 483 runs ODIs 75 runs T20
Jenny Gunn 392 runs ODIs 104 runs T20
Nat Sciver 280 runs ODIs 164 runs T20
Katherine Brunt 169 runs ODIs 71 runs T20
Danielle Wyatt 105 runs ODIs 155 runs T20
Laura Marsh 107 runs ODIs 188runs T20
Tammy Beaumont 0 runs ODIS 38 runs T20
Lauren Winfield/Georgia Elwiss No Figures
Under the new Ashes scoring points system:
Sarah Taylor 198 runs
Lydia Greenway 180 runs
Charlotte Edwards 171 runs
Heather kinight 140 runs
Nat Sciver 90 runs
Sarah Taylor 216 runs
Charlotte Edwards 205 runs
Nat Sciver 132 runs
Heather Knight 121 runs
Lydia Greenway 115 runs
Lydia Greenway 192 runs
Nat Sciver 175 runs
Charlotte Edwards 159 runs
Katherine Brunt 154 runs
Sarah Taylor 135 runs
Its all very well smashing Pakistan/Sri Lanka for 300 runs plus with postage stamp boundaries,but when it comes down to Ashes Series experience is vitally important and England are seriously missing their key players.Alex Blackwell has shown what can be done from an Australia point of view.
Apologies but should have included The Ashes Series in Jan/Feb 2011/12 Season.England won the ODI Series at The WACA Perth 2-1 despite Claire Taylor and Beth Morgan going home injured.The 5 match T20 Series played at The Adelaide Oval,The MCG and The Manuka Oval,Canberra was also won by England by the margin 4-1.Australia won the Test Match in Bankstown,Sydney to win The Ashes.Interestingly under the new points scoring system England would have won the Series by 12 points to 8points.Leading Run Scorers:
Charlotte Edwards 261 runs
Lydia Greenway 221 runs
Laura Marsh 148 runs
Heather Knight 130 runs
Danielle Wyatt 98 runs
England lost the ODI series v Australia 2-1 In the 2010/11 season. Australia have never lost a bilateral ODI series at home to England.
Winning the World Cup involved a bit more than “smashing Pakistan/Sri Lanka for 300 runs plus with postage stamp boundaries”.
I don’t agree that experience or personnel are the issue. Australia just seem to be prepared for the series than England. This is the strongest batting lineup England could have picked and in terms of experience, this is Taylor’s 6th Ashes, Knight’s 5th & Sciver’s 4th.
Apologies Australia did indeed win the 2011 ODI Series in Perth Jan/Feb 2011/12–2-1.Interestingly enough under the new points scoring system this would have finished all square at 10 points each side with England winning the T20 Series 4-1 and Australia winning the only Test Match.
Apologies–Australia did win the ODI Series 2-1 at the WACA Perth in Jan/Feb 2011/12.Interestingly enough under the revised points scoring system this would have finished at 10 points each with England winning the T20 Series 4-1 and Australia winning the Test Match at Bankstown,Sydney.
So England went into the 2nd ODI with a couple of big decisions that seemed strange on the surface – dropping the experienced Marsh for the inexperienced Ecclestone (who turns it the same way as Hartley) and deciding to bowl first, changing the match dynamic from both sides strong suits (Eng setting and Aus chasing). Except with Aus getting nearly 300, batting first hardly seems a weakness for them either, and England were still less confident chasing. It seemed like an almost suicidal decision with England’s fielding going off the boil, Perry getting off to a fast start was just what we didn’t want.
The Ecclestone change sort of worked, she certainly played OK, but it was hardly a special performance beyond anything Marsh, Hazell or Hartley are capable of. I can’t believe there’s talk of dropping Hartley. I had an uncomfortable feeling after the first match that it was a shame after playing quite well that we hadn’t won, and Aus had won playing quite averagely. Would that actually turn out to be one of England’s better performances this series? I think it might do. It’s not great, really.
As for Rachael Haynes, well some critics had questioned her selection. Too slow, they said. Well, today she scored 89* off 56 balls and looked like she was playing on a different pitch.
England are under huge pressure in the series now and I can’t see us coming back. We desperately need a result in the final ODI and the Test, but it’s probably a vain hope in a series for which England’s chances were vastly over-egged by a media who can’t see that home advantage makes a huge difference in women’s cricket. Something like this was always fairly likely in my view. I can’t see England batting long enough to win the Test, we simply lose too many wickets. That does give some hope for the T20 series, but it will probably be too late by then. Today’s decision to bowl first certainly came back to haunt Knight, the DLS advantage was never going to be as big a factor as giving up our main strength of batting first and defending!
Exactly. Australia are a strong chasing side (though not as good without Lanning’s phenomenal 8 centuries in 35 chases, as the 1st ODI perhaps showed), but they aren’t a weak side batting 1st. They can go at 5 an over in pretty much all situations.
England are a much stronger side batting 1st, and had also lost 3 of their last 4 run chases vs Australia before today.
Must admit I was sceptical of Haynes’ selection, (mainly as I thought Blackwell had been hard done by) but she’s been brilliant as a leader and with the bat.
As you say, Ecclestone was fine but none of the spinners are the problem.
Amazing to think that brilliant day at Lord’s was only 95 days ago.
Its bad enough to drop catches in the field and even worse when you are dropping relatively simple catches of your own bowling.AdditionallyEngland are seriously missing their experienced batsman when it comes to hard fought Ashes Series in Australia.
I’ve thought of a 3rd positive to replace the one about the No 11 not being dismissed – England can lose the series but they can’t lose The Ashes.
I was so, so wrong about Rachael Haynes! I had thought she was a limited nudger and nurdler, but that was a superb innings of controlled power hitting.
As for England – the catching!!?!
Just a few observations from me.
England were well beaten today and can have no complaints.
The bowling was inconsistent on a good wicket. The ground fielding was actually excellent but unfortunately they got hurt by the dropped catch by Beaumont just as they did the other day by Hartley. The Brunt one was a tough one as it was hit hard back at her.
Australia dropped 2 catches the other day and 2 today.
I’m not sure going on about Lydia Greenway is relevant, she wouldn’t be able to field everywhere and I do think Sciver and Wilson are close to her excellent standard anyway.
Taylor was excellent for the second game running behind the stumps.
On Cross and Farrant, who would they come in for? What evidenceis there to say they would have done any better?
I find it interesting that when we lose there are three times as many posts than when we win.
Well we love a good moan now and again! 🙂
My thinking was Cross and Farrant should have been in the squad as specialist options for the Test (Cross) and T20Is (Farrant).
In those terms, technically neither would be coming in for anyone as they each played in England’s last fixture of those respective formats. Their non-selection for the tour was effectively them being dropped.
Not saying either should definitely play, but having neither of them in the touring party limits England’s options in the event that players lose form/don’t improve.
It’s fair to say, as others have, that England were well beaten. I do not subscribe to the view that England are a strong bowling side. They certainly have their moments, but there is no one who can come up with the goods when their backs are to the wall. …sorry. Yes against a very inexperienced tail end of India, but not against more seasoned players.
I accept the comments made on fielding, but what typified the change in the Aussie mentality was the E Perry catch in ODI 2 versus her drop in ODI 1…Where was the change in the England mentality…
Batting wise, absolutely no surprise to me. I am not going to argue statistics, I fully appreciate they have a role for Team Selection and Management, but what I sense is that the batters have also resigned themselves to defeat before they get on the pitch…just look at the nature of the dismissals for the top order. Its a top order line up that relies on S Taylor, and that is not going to get the big scores. The ability to build an innings, to execute a successful run chase are not innate to our girls, and it is not something that is taught at lower levels of the game (county etc)…
I never give up hope, but its a tall order. Maybe if they can forget they are the (lucky) world champions and play like they need to prove themselves, they could well pull this out of the bag. I said before, and still believe, Australia are not an exceptional side – a bit of up and at ’em attitude could change our luck….
You could make a case for virtually any cup-winning run being “lucky” at times so I take that statement with a pinch of salt. And if Australia aren’t “exceptional” , who is? Certainly not England in your view. Top 2 teams out then. *Tumlbeweed*. The truth is, of course, that Australia don’t need to conform to anyone’s standards of exceptional, they just need to be a bit better than their opposition. When all is said and done, England would probably take a World Cup win and a poor Ashes instead a quite-good World Cup and quite-good Ashes.
If the batsmen look a bit rusty, it might be because of the all the rain – yep the same rain that prevented them getting any match batting practice prior to the series.
I watched the last 20 overs of the Australian innings, and all bar the first few overs of England’s innings. Whilst there are areas of England’s game that need to be worked on – most or all of these having been touched upon – I think it’s only fair to give Australia due credit. From 140-1 off 30 they used that platform to build what was almost a perfect 50 over innings. No team will have too many days with the bat where things go as well as that, even if England did contribute here and there along the way.
When there was a “crisis” (of sorts) after Bolton and Villani went in quick order, Haynes played a brilliant hand to first of all steady the ship and then “explode”. Hers was the sort of innings that comes with (a) form – something England don’t have at least partly due to the weather-hampered build-up – and (b) freedom. Rather than feel the pressure of the unexpected and questionable captaincy, plus possibly playing for her place in the team once Lanning returns, she seemed to embrace all that and say “bring it on.”
That is something that appears lacking in England. Whatever message came from MR and AM during the break I don’t think we ever looked like we thought we could chase 297 (or 286). We have a tendency to retreat into our shells and know not whether to stick or twist, to the point that we feel twist becomes the only option, leading to a rash shot, and that characteristic showed itself again here. More than once having played herself in a batter was guilty of trying too hard to “manufacture” something with a high risk shot. Mark Robinson has said many times, even in the immediate aftermath of the WC Final, that England are “not the finished article”. How right he is, and here was the proof.