1. Forget The ODIs
England will rightly feel humiliated after that performance at Canterbury – that’s not how they want to be playing their cricket. At some point, they will need to look back through the video footage, do some proper analysis, and try to work out exactly what went wrong. But the time for that isn’t now. “We’ve got to get a bit of calmness, take stock and get a bit of space,” coach Mark Robinson said after the third ODI. Calmness is the right word: England are a good side and the issue isn’t that they don’t know how to bat – it’s all about what’s going on upstairs. With just a few days to readjust before the must-win Test begins on Thursday, they need to look forward, not back, or the problems will only get worse.
2. Bat Like It’s A Test
Obvious, but tricky, given how little multi-format cricket that any of these players get to participate in. With just one 3-day warm-up to adjust, at Millfield School this weekend, England need to work out a way to shift things down a gear in a relatively short space of time. On the other hand they also need to NOT approach things like they did at Canterbury 4 years ago, when they seemed to fold in on themselves completely and see “Test-match batting” as meaning “I don’t need to score any runs”. It’s a tricky balance to strike: the real answer is more women’s Tests, but sadly that doesn’t seem to be about to change any time soon… in the meantime, the Ashes are at stake!
3. Make Some Radical Selections
Mark Robinson has gone down a highly conservative route so far this series, with the same squad of players contesting all 3 ODIs, and none of the newbies getting so much as a sniff at selection. Maybe that made sense at the start, but given England’s lack of success so far, and how inexperienced almost all his players are at the 4-day format, there is no time like the present for a bit of experimenting.
Syd has already suggested that Eve Jones could be worth her weight in gold when it comes to the Test match format. In the past 10 days, she’s hit 125 for club side Porthill Park, which has added fuel to the fire. Another possible contender could be Kirstie Gordon, who took 6-85 against the main Australian side in the Academy match at Marlborough yesterday, including the wickets of Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry. The Test is a must-win – so why not be bold?
4. Find Their Knight In Shining Armour
No one has made a Test century for England since Heather Knight’s mammoth effort at Wormsley in 2013: this would be a good time for one of the top 6 to bring that particular drought to an end. A good contender to do so is Tammy Beaumont, who will almost certainly be opening the batting and will no doubt be keen to add a Test match hundred to her glittering international CV. Whoever it might be, England need someone to shoulder the responsibility and go big on what is likely to be a good batting track at Taunton (the same place where two world record T20 scores were hit on the same day last year).
5. Pray For Brunt
Somehow, you don’t quite realise how irreplaceable Katherine Brunt is until you see England play without her: she just seems to fire up the rest of the team in a way that’s difficult to put your finger on (and her wickets are pretty handy, too!) Having caught sight of her stomping around angrily after England lost the the 3rd ODI – presumably fed up with a) her own self-inflicted ankle injury, and b) the way her teammates capitulated – I reckon it’s even more imperative that she makes it back in time for the Test: no batsman wants to face down an angry Katherine Brunt. In the long term, there’s obviously a worry about what happens when she finally, inevitably, retires: for now, she’ll be raring to go – let’s hope she gets the chance!