The day England lost the Ashes?
England can’t now win this Test – that much was apparent even before the third session of the day began. Their best hope now is to hang on for the draw, but that means that in order to win the series, they’ll have to go on and win all 3 T20s, which is a big ask.
Given that England “won” day 2, and had set themselves up nicely with some late wickets falling last night, that’s quite a disappointing result.
… or the day Australia won them?
Having said that, did England do a lot wrong today? The ball wasn’t doing much, the pitch wasn’t doing much, and Australia just didn’t give them many chances. That was always the worry – Australia’s batting order is like waiting for a bus – you get one wicket and then two more world-class batsmen come to the crease!
People often seem to forget that at Canterbury in 2015, for example, England actually had Australia 99-5 – then Jess Jonassen walked in… and they ended up racking up 274-9! It was a similar story today.
Syd’s Worms [Ed: he really needs to go to the doctor’s about that] make the point pretty clearly: it wasn’t that Australia were ahead of the eight-ball the whole way through – they just bat longer than England, and in Tests, that’s crucial.
It’s looking more and more, in fact, like England really lost this match during the last session of the first day, with the mini-collapse where they lost those 3 wickets for 13 runs. That stat about 280 being a good 1st innings score in a women’s Test is actually quite an illusive one – the game has come on so much, even since that last Test in 2015, that I always had an inkling that 280 wasn’t going to be enough to put England into a winning position. Once again, for England, it’s the batting that’s been the real issue, not the bowling.
There really isn’t much to say, is there? The craziest stat in cricket is that Ellyse Perry had never made an international century before today. But when Perry gets it right, she is unrivalled. She didn’t offer a single chance in the first 100 runs. There was barely a chance in the second.
It makes it even more poignant, in a way, that she might not get very many more opportunities in her career to bat with that level of depth, concentration and duration. The ICC don’t think Tests matter – they think people don’t care about women’s Test cricket.
The reactions today; the cheering of every dot ball that Megan Schutt faced while Perry was on 199* at the other end; Perry’s response (twice!) to hitting her 200th run – it matters. Please take note, ICC.
Can England survive?
They’ve made a decent start by not losing any wickets before the close, but if they’re going to save the game from here then England need to bat out at least two sessions tomorrow. The best advice Mark Robinson can give to his players is to play their natural game – going into their shells isn’t going to do anyone any favours (it didn’t work at Canterbury!) They definitely have the capability – it’s going to come down to whether they have the mental toughness to see it out.
Tough day in the field for the England Ladies.
Surely a little “imagination” could have been applied to get the 12th or 13th man (woman) on to relieve a couple of the players? Poor old (young) Sophie Ecclestone was exhausted, nothing in her Lancashire Men’s League could have prepared her for this slog.
Let us hope the batting can bat on and on and on and…………..
“It’s looking more and more, in fact, like England really lost this match during the last session of the first day,”
Well I’d agree day one was the issue here. This is a Test that England needed to win far more than Australia. Having won the toss, got in on a good pitch, they then effectively handed the initiative to Australia by crawling along at about 2 runs per over. The Aussie must have loved it – seeing all those overs being gobbled up in match they would be happy to draw. Yes crawling along might have worked but, on balance, and given the series situation, it was a perplexing approach.
Long day for England, but one where – for the most part – I’d give credit to Australia rather than criticise England.
Surprised that Ecclestone was used at the start, but more so that she was kept in for so long. If it was a “hunch” then fine, I can go with that, but two overs at most. Having started with a bad over I don’t think Knight wanted to take her off straight away for fear of destroying her. It was a gamble that probably wasn’t worth taking, which of course is easy to say with hindsight. I still feel England were in marginally the better position 24 hours ago. Australia simply proved to good on day 3.
Perry and Healy always had it in them to wrestle the initiative, but England allowed them to do it a bit too easily. They seemed resigned almost from ball 1, or maybe ball 2 when Healy played that immaculate drive straight down the ground. Could they have done more? Probably not, but the body language gave them away from very early on, to me.
What if Knight had caught McGrath? 274 for 7? Still in the game? Who knows. It was similar to Gunn’s drop in the WWC Final in that the ball almost died at her feet. Those catches need to be watched right into the hands because they go out of your eye-line right at the last miinute. It’s the sort of mistake that can come with tiredness. Im sure HK will have relived it a few times last night…
If England do escape here then a lot of credit will go to LW and TB for last night. If we’d come off even one down then I think we’d be cooked. Generally the two of them looked secure, with a couple of half-scares, but I think Wellington showed enough to suggest she could be the danger. If she can get into a rhythm with close fielders in then whether she spins it much or not it will take some concentration to keep her out. Again, it’s the sort of test the players aren’t used to.
Have to mention Perry. An incredible innings from a very, very special player. How do you bowl to her when she’s in that form and mood. She has as much natural talent as anyone could wish for, added to that steel that Aussies seem to find naturally, but without any of the harshness. She should be a role model for every girl. Cricket is blessed to have her, even if I would willingly have slipped something into her drink this time yesterday…
*Brashness, not harshness!
I am not here to criticise but the England bowling was poor, and I am sure Mark Robinson will agree. There was no period of sustained pressure on the batters, they were gifted full tosses, long hops etc, so England never got into the Aussie batters. Wickets are taken in test matches much more often when you strangle the batters for runs and that just did not happen….in England first innings that is what happened to them…
Thought the second innings response was good so a big ask, but doable in the T20.