Back in March this year, England took on Sri Lanka in a T20 international in Colombo. It was the 3rd match of the series, and everything clicked for England – after a 96 run opening stand between Danni Wyatt (51) and Amy Jones (57), Tammy Beaumont (42) and Nat Sciver (49 off just 24 balls) took the score on past 200, to close on 204-2. In reply, Sri Lanka limped to 108-6 – England the victors by 96 runs.
It was the kind of eating that the big sharks often hand out to the minnows – it was also on the Subcontinent, at the 2014 Women’s World T20 in Bangladesh, that Australia had done similar to Ireland – Meg Lanning hitting the (then) record T20 individual score of 126 off 65 balls as the Southern Stars ran out 78 run winners.
Yesterday evening in Chelmsford we saw another huge win for a top side… and another explosive world record century from Meg Lanning; but the difference was that Australia’s victory wasn’t against Sri Lanka or Ireland – it was against England, the team who are currently the 2nd best in the world, according to the ICC’s rankings.
Are the ICC’s rankings wrong? No! Heather Knight was right post-match when she said that England hadn’t become a bad side overnight – in the past 18 months they have beaten all the teams immediately below them – New Zealand (in the T20 tri-series last summer); West Indies this summer; and India, out in India, in the spring.
England also reached the T20 World Cup final last November; but it was the result of that match – Australia strolling to victory – which in retrospect presaged the events of this Women’s Ashes, culminating in last night’s humiliation.
England aren’t a bad side; but in the last year, Australia have pumped themselves up to another level, and England are struggling to keep up.
During the last Women’s Ashes in Australia, the Southern Stars ran a marketing campaign which ran through the star players with the hook line: If X doesn’t get you, Y will! E.g.: If Healy doesn’t get you, Jonassen will! It seemed almost arrogant at the time, and proved so when England came back to level the series with some spectacular T20 cricket, including the famous double-century match in Canberra, where Beth Mooney hit 117 off 70 balls, only to be trumped by Danni Wyatt smashing 100 off 57.
But after what has happened in this series, If X doesn’t get you, Y will! doesn’t seem arrogant any more – it just seems like a statement of fact.
If Perry doesn’t get you in the 3rd ODI, Lanning will in the 1st T20.
And even if you are England – even if you are the second best side in the world – there’s nothing you can do about it.
One word – embarrassment.
There should be questions asked about ……………
(i) the system because whatever system Australia have is leaving England well left behind and at this rate it could literally take years for England to catch up (or never of course).
(ii) the basics. I thought we were in a professional era (Heather Knight column on the BBC “I think this is the most prepared we’ve ever been for an Ashes series” – really – mis-fields all over the place, simple catches being dropped, an inability to bowl an over without giving away at least one free hit and hitting out direct to fielders).
Yes we can beat most teams in the world but I thought the investment aim was to be the best. The Ashes is the most comprehensive test of this aspiration and we’ve fallen miles short of it.
This is Australia in their off season so they are perhaps at their most vulnerable. Roll on the next Ashes series in Australia !
I don’t want want it to roll on. Rather we didn’t have to play them again for years, frankly.
It was a great shame to see the players yesterday. Low on confidence, no real show of enjoyment (unsurprisingly). Players of high calibre misfielding, dropping catches, no confidence whatsoever. When batting looking like rabbits in the headlights, not surprising chasing that total!
It is hard to have a go at them all when they look to be in such a bad place already. Let us hope to give a better account of themselves in the next game.
We are not even second best as India arguably are and signs are they are getting stronger, as country has at last grasped the concept of the women’s game. To be honest if you look at World Cup final impartially India lost it and by default England won it. India will have far more in numbers to draw from given it could likely be away out of poverty. We have mediocre over paid stars, abolishing 50 over County cricket makes it harder for young girls. We appear to be putting everything into shorter format of T20 and The Hundred encouraging the stronger bat swinger type rather than technical touch and stroke players. This is not the way to go if women’s Test cricket is to develop. All short term quick money fixes, doesn’t work in the. Haines world certainly won’t work in sport. Women’s game should not be an experiment to make a quick buck….just saying!
Syd is correct. England is not a bad side. We know that from the team’s recent performance against other teams. It’s just that Australia is a dream team, at least at the moment. We fans always like to see a close contest between the good teams, as in the men’s World Cup final. But that’s not always going to happen.
Went to Chelmsford last night, a few thoughts.
How is it that the when Meg Lanning (or any of the Australians for that matter) hits the ball, she can time it so sweetly while when the England players batted it sounded like they were shnaking a golf ball with a rusty nine iron? On that point, of all the England players, how is it that the only player to consistently time the ball was Laura Marsh? (That’s not to have a go at her but she is batting at ten). For some reason, England seem far less capable of hitting sixes not just compared to Australia but teams like South Africa and India too.
The starkest contrast was the fielding, when Australia fielded, they were sharp, England didn’t. It was best exemplified by Ashleigh Gardners catch to get rid off Dani Wyatt. I doubt an England fielder yesterday would have got near that.
The England team just look mentally shot at the moment, I suspect they probably can’t wait for the series to be over. It’s telling that the top scorer last night was Lauren Winfield who hasn’t played in any of the games so far.
On a positive note, fantastic to see a full house. I’ve never had to stand at a cricket match before but thanks to the incompetence of Greater Anglia trains, I got there late. Is this normally for crowds at Essex? Perhaps hosting international T20’s on a Friday night should be the way forward.
Yes. Almost always get a great crowd at Chelmsford!
Very depressed England fan here. Last night was another cringe-worthy performance I’m afraid, one in fact that made the T20 World Cup final look good. And this Ashes series has made our 2015 performance look very good, too.
Not sure I completely buy the whole “It was all down to Lanning’s brilliance” notion. This series has just been too one sided.
The bowling was absolutely appalling I thought. Never seen England bowl that badly, no-one could manage to drag it back at all. Shrubsole has had a terrible series. So many loose deliveries. Not even to mention fielding, don’t go there. Lanning might be very good but I think a lot of not-so-good opposition would also have had a party last night against a side down in the doldrums who knew they’d get marmalised from the outset.
This is a new low for England and I’m actually doubtful whether some of the players will be able to pick themselves up for future series. I can see us failing to dominate, and possibly losing to a newly resurgent Pakistan side, I really can.
England might be able to claim the tiniest morsel of nourishment from the the way a few middle and lower order players like Winfield, Sciver and Marsh batted, Meanwhile, Australia are gorging themselves on the entire fresh carcass of England’s Ashes hopes.
Only bright notes I can think of are that significant changes must follow from this, and also what a great result the Test draw was.
Well the first over wasn’t too bad. Only 5 runs, and Healy back in the hutch…
Thereafter, not so positive. Shrubsole’s first two balls set the tone, both off target and both dispatched ruthlessly. That, I’m afraid, was that, such is England’s fragility at the moment. You could see whatever remnants of confidence there were at the start visibly seep, ooze, drain, or even gush from the players in those moments.
The contrast in the batting approaches was HUGE. Australia hit cleanly through 360 degrees, able to find a shot for any ball that England bowled (and there was plenty of variety for them to display their range!), whereas we seemed caught in the headlights. Our ONLY hope was a fast start – if that ended up as 80 all out off 8 overs I’d have taken that. It happens in T20 and at least we would have gone down fighting. Instead it looked like our target was to lose by less than 100 in some sort of bid for vague respectability.
Not sure there’s much point picking it all apart. There isn’t a single aspect of last night’s match that an entire thesis couldn’t be written about. Simply, Australia have proved themselves better over the course of the series (after a slightly clunky start – let’s be honest, the only reason England got close in those first two games was a spot of Aussie misfiring), and England have been outclassed in every department. Aus came out last night with the clear intention of killing us off and destroying all this silly talk of an 8-8 draw.
There has been plenty of criticism of Knight and Robinson, as well as the players. I’m not going to join that club, although I don’t for a minute believe that *some* criticism isn’t due. I believe whole-heartedly that every player and every member of the coaching team is giving it their best, which isn’t to say that performances are adequate, just that under this kind of barrage heads WILL drop – that’s human nature when your task is futile.
Australia have our number. Player for player they are better than us. Better prepared, better technically, better mentally, better backed-up by the structure that has prepared them, and so on.
There has been a growing reaction after every match, and it is at least pleasing to see that that is increasingly a serious and sensible reaction. Charles Dagnall’s thread on Twitter this morning probably summed up what many are feeling. People are genuinely concerned for the future of the women’s game here if Australia continue to blow us away. Reform of the domestic game cannot come quickly enough – it should have happened before now, and the ECB only have themselves to blame if they are seen to be reacting to this series rather than having had plans in the pipeline for a while. They simply have not moved quickly enough, and even now their moves are compromised by having to be fitted in around the Hundred.
I don’t feel too encouraged at the moment, BUT if there is blue sky then I genuinely believe that a combination of 2017, the All Stars programme, and early steps towards girls’ cricket being played more in schools has lead to increased numbers of young girls coming into the game. That MUST be built on to ensure those girls have good quality cricket to play as they get older (both club and ‘pathway’), and also that the ones with real potential (a) are brought on to fulfill every ounce of that promise, and (b) continue to play cricket instead of drifting to other sports – because we all know that if girls – more so than boys – are good at one sport they tends to be good at several. But of course that will take time.
I’m done for now…
Well said Richard. You are a consistent voice of level headed reason, when a few of us (like me) sometimes get a bit carried away with the emotion of these defeats, in the immediate aftermath.
Very kind, James. At the end of the day, these are people we’re talking about, not pieces of meat, or robots. They aren’t perfect and, assuming they do enough within themselves to be the best they can be, they can only then perform to the level they are allowed, either by the environment created around them, or by the opposition. One isn’t good enough right now, and the other is too good.
Incidentally, this is a small thing, but perhaps indicative of the differences between the attitudes in the two countries to the women’s game…
Two of the three Test debutants for Australia at Taunton were handed their caps by Mitchell Starc and Dan Christian. When was the last time any of England’s men publicly associated themselves with the women’s team beyond the occasional easy “good luck” tweet?
Granted, Starc has an attachment through his wife’s participation, but you can be sure he was there with the explicit knowledge, approval and encouragement of CA.
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It’s worth watching that presentation ceremony on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu7CYlXjQII
Dan Christian spoke superbly, and what he said brought a lump to my throat.
Thanks for the link, Tim. I hadn’t seen that.
“Equality” can mean all sorts of things to all sorts of people. For me, though, this exemplifies the fact that Australia does so much to bring what I would refer to as “parity” to the way it treats its female sports stars alongside the men.
Are we the same here? I think we’re making progress, but it’s bloody slow! I feel that every ounce of that progress has to be wrung from administrators until their pips squeak. Some sports are better than others, and I think cricket is some way short of the strides being made in other sports.
Need to consider others outside current cohort who are mentally tougher, more consistent and have been playing in men’s cricket leagues. May I suggest newcomer Maxine Blythin at Kent, take a look at her record. Not sure why it’s taken so long for her to get to play for her County. There must be others out their very similar!
Need to look at others outside of current cohort as they are not consistent and are all getting older. Australia probably no our players all too well nothing new being offered. Time to blood some others who have had good seasons. Suggest everyone who wants England and the women’s game to flourish who contribute to this wonderful site makes a suggestion from what they have seen around the County scene, while we still have one. My pick would be Maxine Blythin latest newcomer to Kent, her record speaks for it self.
Dear Captain M there are plenty however they are still playing in men’s cricket leagues not moved over to the women’s game yet.