Following the drawn Women’s Ashes Test in Sydney, England coach Mark Robinson talked a lot about the pitch in his post-match interviews:
“We want to play on better wickets,” he said. “It wasn’t a fresh wicket [and] fresh wickets make such a difference.” He then went on to draw a contrast between Coffs Harbour, where England won the 3rd ODI – “a great wicket [with] bounce and carry” – and North Sydney Oval where “the bowlers ran in hard [but] in the end, the wicket beat us.”
His comments have been echoed by many in the media, with for example Charlotte Edwards tweeting “pitches need to be looked at moving forward”.
But was the pitch that bad? Or was it just that one batsman was that good?
Ellyse Perry’s monumental innings – which Robinson rightly praised as “something special” – was 213 off 374 balls. If Perry had “only” scored a hundred, rather than a double, this would still have been by some way the biggest innings in the game. But Australia would have posted a lead of only around 50 and there would also have been an additional 70-odd overs in the match, if you include the overs “lost” in the final session when they called it quits.
Under those circumstances, England could (and likely would) have taken a few more risks to bat themselves into a position where they could have declared, with either result then still a genuine possibility.
It’s all “ifs and buts” of course – it is true that there have been better pitches, and maybe we need to also look at having more “new balls” in pink-ball Tests; but in all honestly England were not beaten by the pitch – they were of course not beaten at all – but if they were beaten by anything, they were beaten by Ellyse Perry, not the pitch.
Refreshing to finally read something from this perspective instead of banging on about the quality pitch…ulimately BOTH teams played on the SAME pitch with one person just being than the rest
Perry scored her runs at 3.41 per over. In England’s first innings Heather Knight went at 3.35 rpo, and Sarah Taylor at exactly 3 rpo (And almost certainly would have speeded up had she stayed in). Runs could be made as the best batsmen on both teams showed. It needed application and time at the crease. Most of the wickets taken were down to batsman error. Only one player was bowled in the whole match, and only 6 were LBW, of which perhaps 2 shouldn’t have been given. Very few balls (relatively speaking) beat the bat. Whilst the pitch undoubtedly contributed, Australia is a notoriously hard place to take wickets. The ball doesn’t often deviate got the steamers, and there is less swing generally than in England. Add to that the inevitable lack of express pace.
In reality there are numerous factors. Perhaps Mott needs to look closer to home. For much of his team’s first innings they batter slower than England, which was certainly unexpected. Having dismissed England (relatively) cheaply, they had a golden chance and didn’t take it.
*for the seamers!
Very good points Syd. In defence of Robinson and others talking about the pitch, it would seem they were asked a lot of questions by the after match media as it was the hot topic.
I would also add to the brilliance of Perry getting in the way of England’s progress, there was some terrible umpiring both when they batted and bowled.
Very good point. Often reports will say “Robinson said afterwards…” implying that he raised the subject, whereas they should say “When asked [pressed might be an even better word!] about the pitch, Robinson said…”
Often coaches are led into comments like this. It doesn’t mean he’s been misquoted or taken out of context, but it could be a bit misleading. In fairness it’s possible that similar applies to Mott’s comments about England’s tactical approach.
I have the audio of the press conference, although obviously I wasn’t actually there. He was asked initially about the pitch but he later came back it about 3 times in 5 minutes, so he meant it, I think.
Fair enough, Syd. I get the impression MR is someone who, if he has a point he wants to make, will ensure that it is made!
Without Schutt and Perry so far in this series, Australia would have been struggling a lot more! Both have contributed heavily when it’s mattered. I also think Healy will be vital for them in the upcoming T20s – she’s one player who could really take the game away from England. And one thing’s for sure, Perry must have been *really tired* after that mammoth knock of 213* ! 😉
Pitch was circa Adelaide, 2006. Test was maybe 50 overs too short…