Thursday, 23 July 2015

Aussies square series as Lanning comes good

Australia are back in the Ashes Series. Were they ever really out of it? No we just got a bit over-excited after the Taunton match.

They came into the second ODI at Bristol with a much more balanced side, replacing Jess Cameron with opener Nicole Bolton and leggie Kristen Beams with medium-pacer Megan Schutt, who has bowled plenty of times in English conditions before for Notts. Cameron can probably count herself as unlucky. She was batting well at Taunton before she was run out, but the Aussies wanted Bolton in to open the batting (left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen filled in in the last ODI) which meant sacrificing a batsman somewhere. The only other weak link from Taunton was Holly Ferling, and she proved to be the same today, bowling just three poor overs for 21 runs. She is unlikely to make the cut for the third ODI. For all the pre-tour talk she has looked out of her depth at this level. Rene Farrell will surely be preferred.

Inserted by Charlotte Edwards Australia never really looked to be in any kind of trouble. There was nothing in the wicket for seamers or spinners and once they had negotiated the first ten overs it was a matter of how many runs the Aussies could put on the board. England also bowled too many bad balls. Thanks to 104 off 98 balls from Aussie skipper Meg Lanning and a rather sedate 48 off 71 balls from Ellyse Perry, just missing out on her 7th consecutive 50, they managed to score 259/6. England did not help themselves with some sloppy fielding. Sarah Taylor dropped Lanning on 72 standing back behind the stumps, and Kate Cross dropped her again on 83 off her own bowling. Neither may have been overly significant, but they were indicative of a rather poor day in the field for England.

It meant England needed to hit a record 260 to win this second ODI and for the first 25 overs things seemed to be going according to plan. They reached the half-way stage at 122/1. They had lost Heather Knight for 38 off 51 balls with the score on 92, but that brought Sarah Taylor to the crease and the expectation always rises when she skips to the crease. To be fair the anxiety levels also rise, as you are never quite sure what you are going to get from Sarah. Knight had again not looked to be in great form, which must be a bit of a worry for England.

The first over after drinks was bowled by Schutt. She removed Charlotte Edwards who the Aussies had stifled by posting two short extra covers and bowling on her off stump. She likes to whip the ball to the leg side and when she tried to pull a slower ball from Schutt she missed and was bowled for 58 (her 46th ODI 50). This brought Amy Jones to the wicket, who had been a surprise pick at four for the these opening ODIs ahead of Lauren Winfield. For six balls she looked a lonely figure at the crease, and anxious to get off the mark she tried to work her seventh from Jonassen off the stumps to the off-side and was bowled. England needed Sarah Taylor to make this the time she went on and made a big score, but she could not. She fell for 43 off 39 balls, just before the batting powerplay, lbw to Jonassen to a full ball going back in front of her stumps and trying to work the ball to leg.

But it was the powerplay itself which scuppered England's chances of going 2-0 up in the ODI series and 4 points to nil up in the Ashes Series. England scored just 17 runs and lost four wickets. Greenway was lbw to Coyte, Elwiss was bowled by Schutt, Sciver was bowled by Coyte and Shrubsole was lbw to Schutt. Elwiss was bowled off an inside edge driving, but the other three were attempting to play straight balls to the leg-side. England were sunk at 181/8. They managed to get to 196 before they were bowled out, well short of the Aussies' total.

After the euphoria of the England middle-order batting in the first ODI this was back to the more familiar middle-order batting woes. Consistency is the middle-order's problem and it is not one that I can see being solved mid-series. We have to hope that one or two of the middle-order can come good again on Sunday, that Heather Knight finds some form and that we bowl better. Lines and length were poor today. It is going to be a tall ask and the Aussies are now favourites in my book to take the ODI series 2-1 in Worcester on Sunday.

scorecard here



  1. Very accurate and fair report.
    The Aussies put in a complete performance.
    As you pointed out, back to middle order mediocrity for England after we thought we had seen a new dawn at Taunton. Greenway has only once scored consecutive scores greater than 30 (31 and 38*) in her last 23 ODI innings (since the start of 2013) so it was perhaps optimistic to expect a 2nd case. Sciver managed it at Taunton so 3 in a row would have been hoping for too much.
    Overall the England shot selection was very poor (although Taylor was a bit unlucky with the LBW decision, much as Lanning had been in the 1st ODI so that even’s itself out) and all the Aussies did was bowl straight and wait for our batsmen to miss it (or in the case of Knight get yourself run out for the 4th time in her last 10 ODI innings).
    A good result for The Ashes series, a bad result for England, both in terms of The Ashes and the ICC World Championship.

  2. Somewhat worrying today. I know some will think I'm overreacting to one defeat, and that the England team were heroes only a few days ago. However, what really worries me is that just about everyone was bowled or lbw today. It wasn't seaming, swinging or turning, as Martin's report says. Instead the batsmen just missed a succession of straight balls! Maybe the first match was our best chance as they hadn't had warm up matches, and now we face a really tough Women's Ashes summer. The list of top runs scorers in Division 1 of the County Champs this year is a really mixed bunch, but they all fall into one of three categories: already in the England team, already tried and failed at international level, or players you just can't see looking at home in an England shirt. Jones does not look the part at no 4, but who would you have instead?

  3. I wouldn't write off Jones just yet - if her scores in the last 2 ODIs are enough to get her dropped then there is a long list of players over the last few years who should have been dropped for worse scoring and were not. That said, Winfield (whether in place of any of the top 7) was incredibly unlucky to be dropped.
    In terms of average scores, No 4 is the worst position in the top 6 since the start of 2013 in ODIs. Up to the start of this series, No 1 has averaged 50.90 (equals Edwards ex Wyatt on one occasion who scored 40 though), No 2 has an average of 26.16, No 3 has 40.57 (mainly Taylor and would be higher if it had been only Taylor), No 4 has 24.14, No 5 has 32.46 and No 6 has 30.66. So, No 2 and No 4 are the bogey positions.
    In the same time period, No 1 scored eight 50s and three 100s, No 2 scored six 50s but no 100s, No 3 scored six 50s and one 100, No 4 scored only two 50s and no 100s, No 5 scored only one 50 and no 100s and No 6 scored three 50s and no 100s.
    All of which pretty much underlines England have Edwards, they have Taylor and then a big gap.

  4. I enjoyed watching the match, in particular getting to see full value from Lanning this time, what a player she is!

    The bowling was a bit off today, the lines and lengths weren't maintained (generally bowled too short) and we gave away too many bad balls. It did feel like Australia were kept down about at least 20 runs or so less than they could have got though, as Villani, Bolton and Perry were all stifled to some extent. This is very worrying, as we could have found ourselves chasing 280.

    We gave it a go with the bat which was nice to see. The team were well in the game at the halfway stage, but the wickets tumbled to a series of poor shot selections...missing straight balls is generally what happens when you are trying to manufacture runs where there aren't any, usually due to ideal field placings or lack of ability to hit straight down the ground.

    Taylor was given out to a poor LBW decision, for a ball that would have missed a fourth stump. It was going well down leg. The other 2 LBWs were also a bit debatable (Greenway's barely pitched on leg stump, Shrubsole's was high on the knee roll and seeming to be going down leg) so England can feel a bit hard done by.

    In terms of selection for the last match, it's hard to see what Jones is contributing at the moment. I would like to see her continue in the side but she looks out of her depth in the middle. Winfield could maybe be a better bet. I'd move Elwiss up the order if she's not bowling (her fielding is not too hot either). Likewise, move the aggressive Brunt up to 6 or 7 and Knight down to 5 or 6, as she is bowling 9-10 overs and can rebuild or attack as she did in the T20s in New Zealand earlier in the year. Taylor (or Jones!) to open for the powerplay. Bowling wise, Shrubsole is looking a bit out of sorts and Grundy looks a worse bowler than Marsh to me at the moment (or Hazell or Wyatt who were puzzlingly left out of the squad).

    I still think we'll be OK in the ICC Championship, 2 points from Australia is 2 points more than I expected. We can still get at least 4th if not 3rd. We haven't played 3 of the 4 bottom sides yet and SA haven't played any of the other top 3 have they?

  5. Just in case anyone is remotely interested, England have managed to be dismissed before in an ODI without any catches or stumpings being involved. On 15th July 1998, against Australia in Derby England were dismissed with 6 Bowled and 4 Run Outs. This is the only other case before yesterday. Lottie opened in the match and was run out. One other player from that match is still going strong, namely Jane Smit.
    England have once managed to inflict this on their opponents, remarkably as recently as 13th February 2015 when New Zealand were dismissed with 5 Bowled, 4 LBWs and 1 Run Out.