Women’s Ashes 2nd T20 – The Rise of the Machines

There was a point where England were technically ahead in this 2nd T20 at Hove.

With 37 balls bowled, where England had been 36-2, Australia found themselves 35-3.

“Trouble?” asked the blogger doing ball-by-ball on Cricinfo.

Yup – big trouble… for England!

Because that 3rd wicket brought together Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry who, an hour or so later, closed out the innings on 43 and 47 not out respectively, to give the Southern Stars victory by 7 wickets with 13 balls remaining.

But where Perry had torn through England in the 3rd ODI with one of the great bowling performances of all time; and Lanning had torn not just through England, but also through her own world record book, at Chelmsford in the 1st T20; this was a more clinical… even cynical… affair.

Australia simply didn’t need to tear through anything – they just needed to score 6 runs per over, and that was all.

They didn’t even do that initially – Perry played out 3 dots to Laura Marsh, as the Aussies took just 3 off the 8th over; whilst through the 11th and 12th overs they failed to find the boundary at all.

Yet there was no panic – instead, Lanning and Perry found the gaps and ran hard, closing England down, slowly but surely.

Then the boundaries began to come too – not in a flurry, but relentlessly nonetheless – one 4 off the 13th over; one off the 14th; two off the 15th; and then a 4 and a 6 off the 16th. It was about as exciting as watching grass grow, but it was mighty effective.

England have faced bowling machines aplenty in the nets at Loughborough, but at Hove Lanning and Perry were batting machines – terminators, sent from the future to eliminate all of England’s hopes and dreams.

Listen and understand, as Reese says to Sarah Connor in The Terminator.

Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry are out there.

They can’t be bargained with.

They can’t be reasoned with.

They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.

And they absolutely will not stop.


Until England are dead.


12 thoughts on “Women’s Ashes 2nd T20 – The Rise of the Machines

  1. It feels like England thought they could cram for this exam while the Aussies have prepared, revised and left no stone unturned including an investment in their basic home structure.

    People are paying to watch the Aussies but support out of loyalty England. This support is priceless but the ECB can’t match it – Project Loughborough is dead. You can’t play cricket in a Laboratory


  2. Driven on by your Tweet of “Positives? Well… um…. no… got nothing… sorry”, I’ve tried to etch out some silver linings ( a struggle but here goes)-

    [1] this wasn’t the embarrassment of the 1st T20 but it was still a thrashing

    [2] England can still win the T20 World Cup next spring. After all they are capable of beating any other team and, even Australia, as they discovered when ‘Kaur-ed’ by India in the semi-final of the ODI World Cup, can lose to a team they will beat in 9 games out of 10, and if that one game happens to be a knockout game, well.

    [3] Ecclestone. Whilst getting a bit bored of watching Lanning’s and Perry’s systemic, efficient and professional burial of England my thoughts turned to what a combined XI would look like based on performances in this series. The good news is one England player got into my XI – Ecclestone.


  3. Bowling machines are only any good for grooving certain shots or prepare you for fast bowling, they don’t aid your thinking around shot selection. Additionally they are mostly used in doors on synthetic service, not good preparation for grass wickets. Side arms are much better to use as a coach as they are more unpredictable, like a bowler. England have got to rid themselves of playing fancy reverse sweeps and ramps when there is no need to. Beaumont in my opinion should have batted through given she was in. I expect more of her given her talent and experience, made 40 should have become 80+. We don’t seem to treasure our wickets as much as Australia. I prefer Beaumont when she uses her feet rather than playing across the line. I have to wonder what the coach is saying to them before they go out to bat…..!


  4. 371 mile round trip, 12 hours from departure to arrival back home. Despite the result, worth every minute & penny.

    I feel like being positive tonight. No, bear with me…

    I thought England at least came out with a more positive intent with the bat. It didn’t particularly work, it was probably always doomed to failure, but I’m inclined to give some credit for the effort. Beaumont batted with a bit of freedom, and it’s good to see her getting a few runs on the board. That apart, I feel our mentality has taken such a battering that we are not ‘in the right place’ to drive that positive intent to the maximum.

    The sad part is that the odd crack appeared in the Aussie facade as we took some initial control. Four overthrows, a couple of drops, one of them very un-Australian, nobody’s wagon is immune from losing its wheels.

    But they keep coming at you. This team is like one of those mythical creatures – cut its head off and three grow back in its place. Get Healy? It’s only a scratch! Mooney? A flesh wound! Gardner? A mere pin-prick! And unlike the Black Knight, they aren’t in it for comedy value.

    The ‘machine’ description for Lanning and Perry is entirely accurate. Clinical? I’d go for forensic. They took England to pieces slowly, assuredly, bit by bit. Just marvellous to watch artistry in action, after it seemed we might have a chance.

    During the break I went round to the top end of the ground. There was Ellyse Perry having a few throw-downs in the nets. I mean, take five minutes off, will you, for Pitt’s sake!!!

    I take no credit for saying to my wife as Perry strode to the crease, “We won’t take another wicket here.”

    On to Bristol…


  5. I knew it! CA were secretly working for Skynet all along!

    Seriously though, this was a little better from England today. They can hold their heads up. They never looked likely to win but stayed in the game for long periods on a slower pitch. If this had been the norm all series, it would have been more respectable and I’d be a bit calmer right now. England were *almost* competitive – a few better tactical decisions and it could have been closer still.

    There are still so many poor decisions being made in-game by the players. Like the decisions of Beaumont and Sciver to be too cute with a ramp when they just should have played the percentages, and played straight. Or the decision to open the bowling with Elwiss, who hadn’t played a T20 for England for nearly 3 years and rarely if ever bowls in the power-play. Instead of Brunt, Cross or Eccles, all of whom would have been preferable. It just felt wrong, and it proved wrong. I bet the players aren’t being held properly accountable for those decisions either, when they should be. Getting out at the wrong time is a huge issue, even in T20.

    If those obvious tactical mistakes could be eliminated, England would improve their game a few more percent which on a good day might make a difference even against a side as good as Australia.

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  6. Ho Hum! On we go!
    The TMS commentary made one very astute observation during the Aussie innings. The Australian batters played orthodox, straightforward cricket shots throughout their innings, quite easily passing England’s score.
    The England batters (no names attached) played, scoops, reverse sweeps to balls which were too full, strange gliding type shots, and some I fail to be able to describe. The flamboyance was their downfall. Lanning and Perry kept taking singles if they could not get boundaries.
    Why did England not do the same?
    Sophie Ecclestone managed a lovely, lofted straight drive near the end of the innings, one of the very few boundaries hit in the latter part of the innings.
    One question to be asked, do those in charge tell the batters to try these shots to get on top of the opponent? Or is the teams scrambled brains due to being repeatedly outplayed the reason for these poor shot selections.
    Come on ladies!
    One last chance to regain the performance similar to Lords 2017.


    • My gut feeling is that when orthodox doesn’t work – eg. they keep hitting the fielders, or getting caught on the ring or in the deep when they try to loft the ball – then Plan B is reverse sweeps and paddles. It’s not a bad plan per se, but needs perfect execution (and England have been able to “middle” precious few “normal” shots, so middling the funky ones is asking a lot) and looks horrible when it goes wrong.


  7. It’s all about knowing where your stumps are and when percentages are in your favour to play these alternative shots. For example only play legitimate sweep when ball pitches outside leg stump or is obviously going to miss leg stump. Alternatively when wide of off stump, slog weep. All high risk if pitching in-line, LBW/bowled etc. The reverse sweep only when wider missing off stump. Ramp shots are played on length, so need to wait for right ball. You can pre-determine to a certain extent dependent on where ball is likely to pitch. Fully committing before bowler has released ball is normally batting suicide, unless you are have a go to second shot to fall back on. Listen to ABD and Butler. Just because you have practised alternative shot doesn’t mean you play it anytime you can during a game, there has to be a valid reason and right opportunity, you can’t force these shots. Better as I said before to use your feet, the crease and play conventional shots. Go offside or legside of the ball playing straighter rather than fancy high risk cross bat shots which you haven’t fully mastered. Just saying coaches need to sort this out quickly slot selection currently is poor. I believe from what I hear they are all encouraged to play these shots and practice them at any opportunity, they therefore need to re-programme to only attempt them when believing ball is going to land in right areas. At present it appears to be a go to shot when Plan A not working, as someone mentioned earlier. T20 needs game management as much as the longer format, batters need to take responsibility to take game/innings deeper. Hopefully Ms Beaumont will learn, too good a player to keep getting out in the way she does.


  8. Cricket Australia announced this morning on the cricket.com.au website that its 50 over WNCL domestic competition is being expanded, not cancelled like its English counterpart. Over to you, ECB …


    • Ha Ha! Good observation Aussie Fan.
      The ECB are looking up there own 100 backside!
      Maybe prospective 18-24 year old English women cricketers should head to Aus!


  9. More on erratic shot selection by the England Women.
    Confirming John O and Geoffrey’s suspicions. Apparently the coaching management encourage the over elaborate, unorthodox shots!! This seems quite bizarre if true. Having looked back at a few dismissals, on every one the outgoing batter could have played an orthodox shot to either defend, get a single and even play a normal, attacking shot!
    Let’s see what they all do tomorrow!


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