Outside the makeshift “press box” in one of the larger hospitality suites in the pavilion at Taunton, there is a framed poster memorialising Somerset’s great undefeated season of 1890 – 13 matches; 12 wins; 1 tie.
Apart from the fascinating array of moustaches supported by the players, one thing that leaps out at you is that all-bar-one of those matches – proper First Class games, of two innings per side – were played over just two days.
So there is precedent here in Somerset for winning a match in the time frame remaining to England in this Women’s Ashes Test… but after Australia’s approach to play today, it doesn’t look like they will be given the chance.
Australia are of course under no obligation to give them that opportunity – they are professional athletes, charged with retaining The Ashes, and that is exactly what they are doing.
You have to feel sorry for the England players out there this morning though – even the wicket of Ellyse Perry elicited little celebration, because England knew in their hearts it was unlikely to make any difference to the outcome of this match, or the destiny of this series.
And to be fair, England would probably be doing exactly the same thing. Indeed, they may find themselves doing so by Sunday – they won’t want to lose any more than Australia do, and they will happily grind out a draw if that is the alternative to defeat.
But nonetheless, for the love of all that is holy, you have to wish someone would try to make a game of it – offer up a sporting declaration, opening up the possibility of turning it into a contest someone might actually want to watch on the final day.
They wouldn’t be doing themselves any favours; but they’d be doing women’s Test cricket a solid… and boy does it need it after today.