[That’s enough Jenny Gunn puns now Syd – Ed.]
We debated whether Fran Wilson would have to make way for Georgia Elwiss; but in the end it was Jenny Gunn who was left on the sidelines, with Mark Robinson clearly deciding that England needed Elwiss’s batting more than they needed Gunn’s bowling. Was this a good decision? Well… Elwiss didn’t exactly “fail” with the bat but it remains to be seen how we’ll feel if (when?) Australia are 300-3 this time tomorrow and all our front-line bowlers are exhausted!
Winfield Not Winning
Unlike Tammy Beaumont, Lauren Winfield has struggled to build on her 2016 purple patch – her numbers have reverted back to where they were pre-2016; and today she faced over 50 balls for just 4 runs, before getting out to a shot that she shouldn’t have gone near with a barge-pole, let alone her bat!
But… but.. but… who or what is the alternative? Heather Knight doesn’t want to open; Sarah Taylor shouldn’t open; and we’ve just got rid of all the “senior” batsmen in our Academy! If there was an easy answer, believe us, we’d be all over it – we are The Media™ – we love easy answers; but in this case there isn’t one – we just have to trust that Winfield will come good again in time.
A Way Back For England?
England just about edged the first session-and-a-half – Beaumont and Knight both played well for their 50s, but they couldn’t push on and Australia smashed the final session, as England melted in the darkness. 237-7 is not a good place to be, and you have to feel this is Australia’s game to lose now.
If there is a way back for England, it is to bat long enough tomorrow to prevent the Aussies piling on the runs during the day, and then hope that they too struggle under the lights in the evening session. In the last Test at Canterbury in 2015, Anya Shrubsole occupied the crease for over an hour for a 47-ball duck – it was widely derided at the time, but it would actually be quite a useful contribution here – the duck is intact, and she is 15 balls in already – maybe she can push on towards 50 (balls) tomorrow?
In normal tests you would say go for quick runs and get the opposition in. Day night is quite the opposite, hang around and look to have Aussies batting in twilight.
Setting 300 would be key
A lot will depend on the first hour tomorrow. There’s a big difference even between 240 and 270, not just in the runs but in the time taken out of the game and the frustration of the Aussies if they have to wait to bat, plus it would take the “meat” of their innings closer to the night session.
Not as bad a day for England as some are suggesting, I feel. The value of Beaumont and Winfield’s cautious start only became clear subsequently. Not losing wickets to the new ball appears to be as important as everyone said it would be, and England then made pretty good use of the session-and-a-half up until Dinner. Knight (possibly Sciver too) seems to have got a “wrong ‘un” and that could prove to be the key moment of the day. However, I always feel she is vulnerable to an LBW when she sweeps off the straight so much. And I also thought England got away with at least one very close shout in the early stages – swings and roundabouts…?
Taylor can perhaps count herself a little unlucky but when you play as loose as she does on too many occasions then you will be “unlucky” from time to time. One of my favourite players but she is in danger of seeing out her career (not that its near an end anywhere soon, one hopes) without the “landmark” innings to look back on that her sheer talent ought to bring her. She, Elwiss and Brunt were all guilty to some degree of giving their wickets away. Will the Aussies be as generous…?
Still all to play for – we’ll see how the Aussie’s go tomorrow. I still suspect England’s second innings will be the key to the match, however.
I’m with Richard. In a 4-day, day-night Test, I’d rather be in England’s position, especially if the tail can add another 30+ runs and soak up most of the first session today
Or should England declare overnight to ensure they get the second new ball at twilight tonight?! It’s all about timing!
Looking forward, the Academy selections made recently may come back to bite oneself in the posterior for the future England development.
The points made above by Syd, if someone like Lauren Winfield is left out, who comes in?
This replacement process pressure may increase over the next few years, for the likes of Jenny Gunn and Katherine Brunt, both feisty and passionate members of the team, but they cannot go on forever. Although I would not like to tell Katherine that!
Have the Senior and Junior group members got the bottle? Will their potential be realised? Big questions!
England will be disappointed I’m sure and feel they should have got more. Once again poor umpiring decisions have not helped their cause with Sciver in particular and Knight unlucky.
There is still a lot of cricket to be played and hopefully we can add another 40/50 runs tomorrow.
On selection England have gone for exactly the same make up as Australia with 5 frontline bowlers, They also have the advantage of having Elwis and Knight as more than useful backup so I think the omission of a Gunn was a no brainier especially after her poor warm up game. It will all depend though on how they all perform on the day.
I didn’t see who on the Academy who has been released was at all a possible England players. Lamb is probably our next best prospect and she is still there.