Monday, 13 January 2014

England wrap up Test Match win

England lead the Ashes Series 6-0 after they wrapped up a 61 run win over the Australians in the Test Match, taking the last five Southern Stars’ wickets this morning for 66 runs. But, as with every other day of this Test, neither side was prepared to stick to the script.

Australia resumed on 57/5, still needing 128 runs to win, with Sarah Elliott (5*) and Ellyse Perry (1*). England chose to open with yesterday’s destroyer Kate Cross, who bowled an uneventful over to Sarah Elliott, with four runs scored. At the other end skipper Edwards threw the ball to Katherine Brunt, rather than the more accurate and penetrating Anya Shrubsole. Perry climbed into Brunt’s full first ball and blasted it through the covers and clipped the next through midwicket for four more. Two more off a high full-toss and a single off the last ball meant the Australians had 11 off the over. When Cross’s next over went for nine as she too overpitched the alarm bells were beginning to ring in the England camp.

Jenny Gunn immediately replaced Brunt, but by this time Perry was in the mood and slashed her first ball for four, before adding a two and a final ball single. The Aussies had raced to 88/5. In the next over Cross again overpitched and Perry drove her for yet another boundary. It was time for Shrubsole. As soon as she came on England appeared to be back in control. She produced a couple of hooping inswingers and then beat Elliott all-ends up outside the off-stump with two successive deliveries. Gunn then took over from Cross and suddenly life was much more difficult for the Aussies.

It was no great surprise when Shrubsole made the vital breakthrough. A full inswinging ball was clipped nicely by Perry off her legs, but straight to Jenny Gunn at square leg, who collapsed over backwards as she clung on to the vital catch. Perry (31) could not quite believe it. While she was at the crease the Aussies still believed, but as soon as she went it seemed that it was just a matter of time. And so it proved. The shift from 99/5 to 99/6 was a significant one.

Erin Osborne, who had batted so well in the first innings, came and went to Shrubsole without troubling the scorers and not long after Sarah Coyte (8) was lbw to Gunn. Rene Farrell (0) drove over the top of another inswinger from Shrubsole, and the Aussies had been reduced to 109/9. Holly Ferling could have been out to either of her first two balls from Shrubsole, but she survived with a resolute smile on her face. It was Elliott’s cue to finally unleash some shots, whilst also trying to retain the strike. She hit a couple of lusty blows but that signalled the return of Brunt, who finally wrapped things up for England when she bowled Elliott (29 off 115 balls) with a full ball. The Southern Stars had been bowled out for 123.

Kate Cross finished with 3/35 and Anya Shrubsole 3/48, with Jenny Gunn and Katherine Brunt taking two wickets apiece. Ellyse Perry who took 8/79 and scored 102 runs in the game was rightly named player of the match.

The Series now moves on to the 50 over ODI format with two games in Melbourne and one in Hobart, before three T20Is. England need to win just two of those games to retain the Ashes. Having won five games on the bounce in the corresponding fixture here in England last year they will be taking nothing for granted, but they have taken a huge stride towards that ultimate goal.



  1. Funny old match, really. In every innings bar the first, the top scorer came in at number 7, and in the first innings it was Brindle at five. In every innings bar the fourth, the second top scorer came in a 6, with Elliott bucking the trend from number three - 115 balls, and the only innings from a top three batter to last more than 50. Perhaps it was a match for reversing the batting order, in hindsight, and hoping the tailenders could cling on long enough for the ball to soften. I think it demonstrates as much as anything how little long-form cricket they get to play. It's not so much the lack of practice, but the lack of specialists, Elliott aside. All four openers seem likely to be doing the same job in both the ODIs and T20s.

    I'd just like to mention a couple of important performances that are slightly unobvious. Shrubsole, Cross and Brindle produced the most eye-catching performances for England, and obviously Perry was the best of the lot for Australia, but every innings saw an early collapse followed by a recovery partnership to stop the rot. The big difference was that Australia collapsed to five down twice, while England's recovery came at three down in both innings. Brindle was involved in both of them, but we shouldn't forget Nat Sciver on debut, who came in at three down in the fourth over on the second day, and stuck it out 'til stumps, on top of her 49 in the first innings. Compare that with Australia's four and five, who contributed just five runs and lasted 25 balls between them in the match.

    For the other one, which bowler averaged the fewest in the match? Perry? No. Cross? No. Farrell or Shrubsole? No and no. It was actually Gunn, whose three wickets cost just nine runs each. You can see that as justification for her negative bowling tactics, or as proof that if she'd bowled straighter more often the match would have been wrapped up much sooner, but either way she was able to prevent Shrubsole and Cross from being overworked to the extent that Perry was, in spite of Brunt's issues. Add that to her second innings batting, and it more than makes up for being the only number seven batter to fail to top-score.

  2. Tend to agree. See my piece on Who Did What above and my ratings for each player.

  3. Good Comment article David. Only bit I'd query is the "All four openers seem likely to be doing the same job in both the ODIs and T20s.". Knight isn't a T20 specialist (well her record is pretty dreadful albeit usually from down the order) so maybe Winfield as a T20 opener with Knight further down the order.
    Both teams could find themselves in selectorial deep waters soon. Australia haven't picked Elliott for the rest of the series yet is clearly their technically most competent batsmen (and someone who I could watch all day even if she only hits one boundary in that time). Can't believe Elliott can't play ODI cricket well enough. If Cross gets picked and performs in the ODI its going to look a bit odd bonkers plonking her on a plane home before the T20.