Random Thoughts: Women’s Ashes 3rd ODI

Never Say Die

With England already 4-0 down on points in this series, today’s game really was do or die – fortunately one thing we know about Mark Robinson’s England is that they never say die! With Australia 159-2 after 30 overs, chasing 278 with 8 wickets in hand, it really seemed (to us at least!) like the end might be nigh; but a combination of economical bowling and, eventually, some key wickets paid dividends. If England can win the Test they are right back in this series.

England’s Batting

This was, overall, a much improved performance with the bat from England, helped by the fact that they reverted to playing to their strengths, and choosing to bat when they won the toss. With 3 players – Taylor, Beaumont and Knight – all making 50, England’s best batsmen are at last showing some form.

Of the 3, Heather Knight’s innings was probably the most important. Having lost 3 wickets for 9 runs in the middle overs, England really needed her both to weather the storm and remain in until the end, AND to ensure that she kept the strike rate up above 100, so that they had time to set a competitive total – she managed both, finishing 88 not out from 80 balls.

One concern for England is their incomprehensible zeal for the ramp shot. Taylor whipped it out when still on 0* and was lucky not to be dismissed – Beaumont later followed suit, missed it completely and promptly found herself stumped on 74. Either the England coaches are giving some quite unhelpful advice, or the England batsmen are ignoring the advice they’re getting – either way, it’s a shot that doesn’t come off nearly enough for it to be worth the risk!

Wickets Early Doors

Robinson’s England are not known for their ability to build early foundations. In 2017 they’ve had only one 1st wicket partnership of over 50, largely because Lauren Winfield hasn’t backed up her excellent 2016 summer with subsequent consistent performances. In the 3 ODIs this series England’s first wicket has fallen with 47, 2 and 2 runs on the board, respectively.

Meanwhile Australia have racked up opening stands of 14, 98 and 118. In fact during today’s game Channel 9 brought up the following stat, which is rather concerning for a side who have generally been stronger with the ball than the bat:

It’s a stat backed up by the fact that today, of the five 10-over periods in the game, Australia were ahead in only the first 10:

Fighting back is a hallmark of this England side – but perhaps some early consistency might negate some of that need to always be playing catch up.

It should certainly provide food for thought going into the Test match, which England need to win to ensure the series is kept alive.

10 thoughts on “Random Thoughts: Women’s Ashes 3rd ODI

  1. That was a really impressive fightback given how poor England were just a few days ago. Still room for improvement but huge credit to the players.

    Three fifties in the same innings for England for the first time since the Sri Lanka series last year. Knight and Beaumont’s highest ODI scores v Australia & Taylor’s highest score vs Australia since 2009.

    Taylor scored over 500 ODI runs in a calendar year for the 2nd time in her career (the last time was 2008). She is the only wicketkeepr to have scored 500+ runs in a year twice.

    Knight and Beaumont’s scores were also the 2nd & 3rd highest scores for ENG vs AUS on Australian soil behind Edwards’ 90 at Perth in 2011.

    Hartley, Gunn and Sciver exerted impressive control. On the other hand, Brunt has taken 0 wickets and conceded 99 runs in her last 14 overs.

    Healy’s 71 was the highest ODI score by an Australian keeper and her series total (145) beat the Australian record by 52 runs.

    The series as a whole saw the most sixes ever for a 3 match ODI series (15) and the 2nd highest runs aggregate (1,505). Only the Rose Bowl series earlier this year (1,603) saw more runs scored.


  2. A much improved performance form England all-round, and a deserved win. They’ve kept their hopes alive for at least the Test match! I was impressed with the way Knight, Taylor and Beaumont kept at it, despite the cheap fall of a few wickets around them. Let’s not forget that it was an incredibly uncertain and scratchy start to the innings, with England only 5/1 after the first 4 overs and Taylor trying all sorts of unconventional attempts to get off the mark much to the scorn of the on-mic Australian fielders.

    It turned into somewhat of a sweeping “masterclass” from England, as I lost count of how many times Beaumont and Knight in particular, bent the front knee and sent the ball careening behind square on the leg side for ones, twos and fours. It was their go-to shot and Australia had no real answers. The shot comes with some risk, particularly in reverse and paddle form (as Beaumont’s dismissal attests to), but it was a major source of runs, and this counts as a good rather than bad “sweeping day” for England. Australia don’t have the same reliance on the shot although they play it sometimes, they’re more likely to try and hit down the ground.

    Meanwhile, Megan Schutt is reprising her role as a real thorn in England’s side. She seems to get at least one wicket every new spell. Her accuracy and ability to bowl straight Yorkers is uncanny. She has been Australia’s most accurate and important bowler despite all the mysteries of the leg-spin on offer!

    Nat Sciver’s bowling spell was vital. After having an average match in the 2nd ODI, and failing with the bat again here, she could have followed suit and gone around the park under pressure from Australia’s top order. Instead she returned figures of 2-24 in 8 overs and was key to England getting back in to the game, removing the dangerous Haynes and Gardner. How great would it be if she could bowl like this all the time? Her fielding was excellent, too. The way England came back into the game when Australia were cruising on 159-1, was pleasing.

    The problem of the opening bowling not being penetrative enough is an issue I brought up back in 2015 and it’s still a factor today. England should look to be changing things up earlier, and not bowling the opening bowlers for the same early spells when they don’t get early wickets or are struggling to find their radars.

    Now, the Test is vital. England really need to try and win, since a draw would leave them needing to win all 3 T20 games. So we need more bowling resources, but can’t afford to skimp on the batting in the process. I’d probably bring in 2 players who have a history of resistance against Australia (Elwiss and Marsh) and leave out the out-of-form Winfield and a bowler, probably Ecclestone, as 2 left-armers is a luxury I’d be surprised we could afford.


  3. Watched the whole of England’s innings and have subsequently seen the highlights of Australia’s (making it impossible to comment properly on that half of the game).

    Bating wise this was much more like it from England, lending weight to the idea of “rustiness” in the first two games. Despite a couple of sticky patches early on and then when three quick wickets fell, heads were generally kept and a proper innings was built. Knight played arguably her best and most important innings in an England shirt (only the 150 at Wormsley competing for that accolade) and got sensible support from Brunt and Gunn. 12 and 15 may not seem on paper like huge contributions, but they took us from 201-5 to 284, when 225 all out was not inconceivable.

    In terms of progress, the innings mirrored Australia’s three days previously, gaining momentum throughout. I’m not a fan of the sweep, particularly on hard pitches where the extra bounce can take a top edge too easily, but England used it effectively and sensibly for the most part. It comes with risks, and if it’s the tactic England have chosen to employ then dismissals such as Beaumont’s are a price that will be paid now and then. At least they seem to have thought about how to tick the scoreboard over and create runs when the bowling is tight.

    Not having watched much of Australia’s reply it is hard to comment too specifically, but the two consecutive maidens, including Haynes’s dismissal strike me as the key passage. The first two games have seen England unable to stem the flow at times, to a greater or lesser extent, meaning Australia have hardly had to do much thinking for themselves – England have always offered a run-scoring opportunity up before Aus have had to manufacture something themselves.

    It seems we may now be in a contest, which is, if nothing else, a relief after the first two games, and Thursday in particular. Australia are still favourites by virtue of being ahead, and only needing to draw the series, but maybe England have opened up some cracks of self-doubt in what was looking something of a machine up til now…


  4. What a great win and against a lot of adversity. I have lost count the number of close calls that have gone against England from the umpires in all of these ODIs.
    Yesterday Winfield had a close one not go her way, Taylor was out off a no ball and hot spot showed Wilson hit hers. Then when there is a close shout against Bolton off Hartley when we needed a wicket, again it fell on death ears. I bet the girls are wishing they had DRS available.
    England’s highest score ever against Australia shows those people who were doubting this team after one bad performance should have more faith. They don’t just score big runs against Pakistan as someone said. They are World Cup winners and in doing so scored 370 against S.A and 350 against New Zealand.
    Yes we got hammered on Thursday but could have easily have won the first ODI if Hartley had caught Blackwell in what was a really close game.
    Here’s to enjoying more highs and lows over the next few weeks.


  5. Well done England!

    Australia: Villani may be worth a punt in T20s, but I fear not as a middle-order bat in 50-over games. What happened to Grace Harris?

    England: still too many dropped catches, but this time there were enough runs in the bank for those not to matter.

    Really no idea who starts favourite for the Test. Exciting tImes!


  6. The winner of this series will be the team that adapts to Test match conditions best and then morphs into a T20 specialist.

    The series format favours the Aussies as a test win puts them (nearly) out of sight and a draw would give them a buffer in the T20 lottery.

    England need to apply the same must win approach to the test and pressure Aussies into uncertainty and the sniff of a win may take the draw out of the equation.

    Strangely we didn’t see T20 skills from the lower Aussie order, so T20 may not be dominated by the Aussies.

    All to play for – come on England!


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