Sunday, 10 April 2016

England tour to Sri Lanka ends with agonising loss

Two very tired sides battled out two T20s at the Premadasa Stadium to conclude the England Academy and Aussie Shooting Stars tours to Sri Lanka.

In the first game England won easily bowling out the Shooting Stars for just 75 in 17.4 overs. Only Patterson (26), Graham (13) and Molineaux (11) made it into double figures as Sophie Ecclestone claimed 3/11 off her four overs and Sophia Dunkley 3/16 off 3.4 overs. In reply England lost only openers Hollie Armitage (11) and Georgia Adams (20) as Sophia Dunkley (20*) and Fran Wilson (7*) knocked off the runs in just 12.2 overs.

But the second game was a much closer affair with the Aussies this time batting a little better, and England fielding worse, which allowed them to accumulate 111/6 at the end of their 20 overs. Alex Hartley bowled smartly to claim 3/15 off her allotted overs and Sophie Ecclestone (1/18) and Freya Davies (1/25) were the only other wicket-takers. Tahlia McGrath (32*) top scored for the Shooting Stars.

England made a horrible start in reply losing Adams bowled for a duck in the first over and Hollie Armitage caught for 1 in the third over, at which stage they were 6/2. But Emma Lamb looked in imperious form - the only bat to do so during the entire day. She lost Evelyn Jones lbw (8) at 32/3, but had taken England to relative comfort at 70/3 in the tenth over before she pulled a short ball to midwicket for 45. In the next over Sophie Luff (8) also went caught at mid-on, but England still only needed 39 from 9.3 overs, with five wickets in hand. Fran Wilson (12) and Alex Macdonald (7) had got the equation down to 21 off the last five before Macdonald was stumped and then Wilson caught on the boundary at cow corner. England needed 18 off the last three overs and a sumptuous 4 over extra cover from Beth Langston (7) eased the England nerves. Next ball she connected well with a sweep off a full toss. The ball was destined for the boundary but Sophie Molineaux stuck out a right paw at square leg and took a screaming catch. It was probably the key moment.

England were eight down and still needed 10 to win with 13 balls left. Ellie Threlkeld (6) and Steph Butler (4*) got that down to five to win from the last over. They scrambled one from the first ball as both batsmen came, went, waited and finally ran and bowler Alex Price could not get back to the stumps in time to run Butler out. Next ball Threlkeld was well caught behind by Banting as she tried to dab down to third man. The third ball was a dot ball and England managed two on a misfield at midwicket. Number 11 Sophie Ecclestone (2) was on strike for the last two balls with England just one run behind. The fifth ball was a dot and with the final ball Ecclestone was stumped to give Australia the game by one run.

Threlkeld goes with four balls to come
It was a disappointing end for the England girls who had won five out of six ODIs before today's T20 games. For the Aussies it was a reward for some gritty efforts by a squad of just 13 over a very long and hot three weeks in Sri Lanka.



  1. Thanks for these very informative updates on England Academy's performances. I think the side did well, it was a successful tour.

    It's clear from looking at some rough statistics from the 50-overs part of this tour, that Wilson and Cross are simply too good to be playing for our Academy side. The shaky form the England Performance squad are looking in at the moment only brings into focus just how urgent getting these 2 players back in must be. And Wilson is an absolute shoe-in for a central contract, she is just too reliable - when what the performance squad so desperately needs is reliability in its batting. It would be interesting to know just how much Wilson and Cross got out of this tour, or whether they regarded it as more of a chore.

    Other batters, like Lamb, Jones, Luff and Adams must be close to getting the call up too now. It's important that this happens, both to shore up our misfiring middle order and give more options up top. Hard to see how they could be much less effective than Greenway or Knight on recent form. From the bowlers, any of the quartet of Ecclestone, Hartley, Butler or Langston could make it. They all had reasonably similar (very good) figures with averages around 16-22 from what I could make out.

    1. Wilson has a central contract (she was added in about Dec 2015).

      I proffered the idea about a year ago that Lottie's successor as captain isn't yet playing for England and I still think that might be the case - albeit I had Luff in mind rather than Wilson !

    2. Yes sorry, I see it now, 15 Dec, missed that one - that makes it even stranger that she hasn't played for the performance squad for so long...over 5 years now by looks of it (ODI/T20). Ridiculous. Can't judge a player for life by performances at 19 years old. She has improved a lot, I'd say.