Thursday, 26 October 2017

Second Ashes ODI - Talking points

The Aussies are 2-0 up in the ODI series, and already 4-0 up in the Ashes Series overall, after a resounding victory in the second ODI at Coff's Harbour. Set initially 297 to win, England never looked like getting there, and they ended 76 runs short of the D/L score of 285, after four overs were lost to rain early in England's innings.

For Australia there were half-centuries for Bolton, Healy, Perry and Haynes, but it was Rachael Haynes' knock of 89* off 56 balls which took the Aussie total beyond 275, which looked to be the par score on a good track. I hold up my hand and say I misjudged Haynes' abilities. I did not think she had a knock like that in her. She found the boundary 12 times in her innings, including three maximums. True she was badly dropped on the boundary by Tammy Beaumont on 60, but in truth the damage was already done by then. It was a sensational knock.

Things actually started to go wrong for England at the toss - they won it! With thunderstorms scheduled later in the evening it made sense to bowl first so that if targets were adjusted, as the side batting second, you knew what you needed. As it turned out most of the rain fell in the innings break and England suffered with a much slower outfield, and the fact that they are not good chasers. Had they batted first, which they undoubtedly would have done in normal circumstances, then who knows what might have happened. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.

England included 18 year old Sophie Ecclestone for her first Ashes' outing, replacing Marsh, and Australia were without Ash Gardner, who was suffering with concussion, having been hit on the head whilst batting in the first ODI - Beams took her place. Ecclestone bowled her 10 overs and took the wicket of Healy with her "arm ball". Her 1/49 was the most economical spell. In contrast Alex Hartley looked ragged in her first spell, although she improved in her second. Having said that I'd guess that Ecclestone's name is first on the team sheet out of the two of them now.

England never really recovered from being 20/2 with Winfield and Beaumont both lbw to Schutt's induckers playing across the line to full balls. Taylor then gave Tahlia McGrath her first international wicket, nicking behind (only bowling as Perry was mistakenly withdrawn from the attack by the umpires for bowling two balls over waist height - the second was not dangerous, which it needed to be under the ICCWC Playing Conditions); Sciver slapped Jonassen to mid-on before she had even got going; and Knight was adjudged lbw sweeping at Wellington. Replays showed she had edged the ball, but there is no DRS available for this series, despite the cameras and the obvious availability of hotspot technology. England were 91/5 and the game was gone.

Katherine Brunt scored her maiden ODI 50 at a run-a-ball, but the rate kept climbing and England simply ran out of batting.

At 4-0 down they are in a hole. The Aussies only need 4 more points. A win on Sunday is going to be essential, but it will take all of Mark Robinson's and Heather Knight's collective self-belief to get them there. I'd still push Sciver up to 4, and I think Robinson might look at playing Danni Hazell, perhaps instead of Hartley, to try and trouble the lefthanders outside their off-stump. But if the batting line-up can't find some runs, then who bowls is actually going to be irrelevant.



  1. So England went into the 2nd ODI with a couple of big decisions that seemed strange on the surface - dropping the experienced Marsh for the inexperienced Ecclestone (who turns it the same way as Hartley) and deciding to bowl first, changing the match dynamic from both sides strong suits (Eng setting and Aus chasing). Except with Aus getting nearly 300, batting first hardly seems a weakness for them either, and England were still less confident chasing. It seemed like an almost suicidal decision with England's fielding going off the boil, Perry getting off to a fast start was just what we didn't want.
    The Ecclestone change sort of worked, she certainly played OK, but it was hardly a special performance beyond anything Marsh, Hazell or Hartley are capable of. I can't believe there's talk of dropping Hartley.

    I had an uncomfortable feeling after the first match that it was a shame after playing quite well that we hadn't won, and Aus had won playing quite averagely. Would that actually turn out to be one of England's better performances this series? I think it might do. It's not great, really.

    England are under huge pressure in the series now and I can't see us coming back. The series has gone, surely. We desperately need a result in the final ODI and the Test, but it's probably a vain hope in a series for which England's chances were vastly over-egged, by a media who can't see that home advantage makes a huge difference in women's cricket. Something like this was always fairly likely in my view. I can't see England batting long enough to win the Test, we simply lose too many wickets. That does give some hope for the T20 series, but it will probably be too late by then. Today's decision to bowl first certainly came back to haunt Knight, the DLS advantage was never going to be as big a factor as giving up our main strength of batting first and defending!

  2. How often in recent years have we actually compiled a good batting total against the Aussies? Precious few I fancy! We may have won the World Cup but we also scored just 228 in the final, hardly setting Lord's alight. You suspect the only way we will win a match is if our bowlers do really well and keep the Aussies to a below par total.