Ask any member of the England camp about the 2017 Women’s Ashes and they’ll say the same thing – England tied that series.
Talk to Mark Robinson… to Heather Knight… to Danni Wyatt… they’ll all remind you that after the drawn Test at North Sydney Oval, England came back to win the T20s and draw the multi-format series level on points, 8-all.
Yes, Australia retained The Ashes they’ll admit, but only on a technicality – they didn’t really “win” the trophy… and so England didn’t really “lose” it either.
Eighteen months later, as the penultimate day of the 2019 Ashes Test drew to a close, with England finding themselves 6-0 down in the series and in a bit of a “situation” in Taunton, their run rate slumped to less than 1 an over.
The question on everyone’s minds – from the commentary boxes to the stands – was why? Surely to reclaim The Ashes, England needed to go for the win? Smash 600 and bowl ’em out in the final session?
And it’s true – to reclaim the trophy, they did need to go for the win; which by the time they left the field at around ten-to-seven in the evening, they most patently were not doing, with Anya Shrubsole reprising her role as Blocker in Chief from Canterbury 2015.
But… and here’s the important bit… although they can’t “win” the Ashes now, England can still stop Australia from “winning” them.
If England can salvage a draw the Test, and then win all 3 T20s, then the series will be level, as it was in 2017 – Australia won’t have “won” the Ashes, and England won’t have “lost” them either – Australia would merely have “retained” them on a technicality.
Of course, this probably won’t cut much ice with the fans – or the Aussies for that matter – but if England appear to be happy to grind out a draw tomorrow… it might just explain why!