So that’s that for women’s Tests, for another 2 years or thereabouts. Despite being the only team in a theoretical position to win the match this afternoon, Australia were happy to bat-out for a draw on a soporific afternoon in Somerset.
Meg Lanning made no apologies afterwards, telling the press conference that they’d put all their mental chips on enforcing the follow-on, and that once England passed that target, a draw was really the only option on their minds.
Australia certainly could have gone for a win – if they’d declared with around 25 overs remaining, they would have set England a target of around 8 an over – just enough to entice them into having a crack at it.
But Australia decided that was a risk too far, and instead let Ellyse Perry have some red-ball batting practice ahead of her next appearance in whites… in 2021.
Do you blame them? Australia were quick to point out that England had been the ones batting for a draw two years ago and North Sydney Oval; but England then were batting to save the game – Australia were batting to… well… is there even a term for it? Unsave it?
Australia will claim they are the No. 1 side in the world in all 3 formats, and it is probably fair to say that if the last two Tests were boxing title bouts, they’d have won them both “on points”; but they have nonetheless failed to deliver the knockout blow that really settles the argument on each occasion, and have now failed to actually win a Test for 4 years.
Is it fair to criticise them for that?
Maybe not – they did the job they came to do, and you can’t argue with the points tally!
But then you can’t argue with the empty win column either.
And an empty win “on points” is all they’ve achieved here.