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since 1997 Feb 16

2017 Diary

A Ramble on Women's Cricket
 - with diversions -

This diary will be updated erratically throughout the year.

Previous Page :  The Ashes Underway


The Ashes


Firstly. Click here for all the Stats you are ever likely to need for this series ...


... and you'll find the latest links to newspaper and web site reports on the Ashes on the same page.






Let's kick off with some really startling news that for some reason escaped me until now. I am still trying to get my head around this but apparently there are no reserve days set up for this series. I am assured that's true - yes I really am. I know - you can't believe it either! While much in the 21st century causes me puzzlement, this just takes my breath away!


I am searching for explanations. Let's try out a few.


1.  Australia only need to tie this series, England need to win it so from Australia's point of view, the more rained off games the better especially after establishing an early lead which is always likely when your opponents are "straight off the plane". Although, as I type half-way through this 2nd ODI and with the Australians having mustered 300 runs (all but a smidgen) they should be praying for the storm to be over quickly rather than England who may be happy to sit this one out.


2. The Australians really don't rate this series very highly. Basically it's not worth the effort. With all the hullabaloo from down-under this seems unlikely. However the WBBL seems to be what the authorities there would prefer to push. Maybe option (1) above is more reasonable. Sad day if true...


3. Another reason which at this point evades me...


Anyway rising early but not at the start of the match, I have been scribbling on my pad at the side of the keyboard. The most obvious thoughts as the hail comes down, is that on the England fielding. With the notable exceptions of Knight and Taylor it was pretty woeful at times. Catches win matches they say and the obvious corollary is that dropping them doesn't. A number of very catchable chances went down.


Other things noted: the England coach has made remarks in the media that he's very happy with Mickey Mouse  (sorry...  short) boundaries. He may be regretting that in this match. I'll be curious to compare the tally of 6s by the two sides at the end of the game. [I have since checked and the total is England 1 Australia 6. That means Australia have 10 more runs that hitting a 4 would have accomplished. It simply shows that for women - even with tiny boundaries - trying to hit 6s rather than 4s, bearing the number of times you will be caught trying, makes the whole exercise not just unproductive but indicates suicidal tendencies]!  [This was made as plain as the nose on anyone's face in ODI3 - see below] It also means fitness isn't really tested as it might be, as 3s become (almost) impossible and much of the art of cricket is lost. Ironically, when many will say isn't women's cricket so much more exciting now more runs are scored (and in many ways it is), it will be meaningless comparing team's or individual innings of a decade ago, let alone further back in time, as the game has been handed in this way (and in many others too it must be said) to the batsmen on a plate.  As I've shown above it's not the 6s that will make much of a difference but the 4s if you are only considering pitch sizes. How much more meaningful were some of Claire Taylor's innings when she played on pitches with what I'll euphemistically call, larger boundaries, (I should have perhaps typed, "proper boundaries"), where she had to hit a 4 not a '3-plus-a-bonus-point'. I am well aware "it's the same for both sides" but if you decided to shorten the pitch to 10 yards and play with a soft ball then that would still apply. It just wouldn't be cricket in the real sense of the word.


But let's hand out credit where it is due. The Australians batted extremely well, and Haynes quite brilliantly. Some, but not a great deal, of slogging from the Aussie skipper but what many commentators are pleased to call "proper cricket shots". To me that makes it all a much greater pleasure to watch. While the Australians carried out their task efficiently and at times with real finesse, England failed to grasp some of the basics.  If things don't change quickly - well - we all know where the Ashes are finishing up.


And the second innings starts as England supporters will have feared. Why do so many England players insist on playing around their front pad before they are "in"? Been a mystery to me for some time but seems to depend on the fact that so many have become 'leg-side players'. If you want to be an international you need to be able to play 360 degrees and preferably pretty straight when new at the crease. Just take a look at the wagon wheel I once compiled at a match some years ago. Can you guess whose knock it was?



Let me give you a clue. Now retired, some years ago in fact, I have never known a player work harder at her game. She was always considered the complete player and the terribly drawn wagon wheel above gives you some inkling of why. I'll tell all later. I put this up as a curiosity while wondering how a similar tracing would look for many players today. No doubt the modern analyst could tell you. So poor am I at annotating things, however, that I have forgotten what F.E. stood for. Ah, well!


Note typed several month's later - the player featured in the wagon-wheel is Claire Taylor


If you want things to remember from this match, as an England supporter that is, then remember Haynes fine knock. (Yes, I know she plays for Australia but if you enjoy watching someone at the top of their form, then this was worth watching and more than once if you have it recorded). From the point of view of England then remember Brunt's first international 50. A player who has always been a 'leg-up' from most bowlers when holding a bat, she has looked a genuine all-rounder for some time now and this was richly deserved when, as the saying goes, all about her were losing their heads. It shows that you might be fighting in a lost cause but you can still show what you're made of.


[Rachel Haynes]  Don Miles[Katherine Brunt]  Don Miles

Rachel Haynes (Left) and katherine Brunt (both shots from 2009)


From England's viewpoint the next ODI is a 'must-win'. Just to remind you - Australia only need 8 points and, if all goes wrong for England on Sunday, it'll take a miracle for the Ashes to return to the northern hemisphere.






Unable to watch the match  on what is yesterday night to an England-based viewer and able to catch only a couple of minute highlight package (not that you can call it that for less than 3 minutes), I was totally amazed at how quickly my point about women hitting 6s had such powerful evidential support. As an England supporter it is great to know that no one in the Australian camp reads my blog - or at least in the unlikely event they do, don't take it seriously. Why do I suggest that? Well I woke up to the news that, of the 9 Australian wickets to fall, 5 went down to deep-field/boundary catches. Now it's possible that not all of those players intended to try for 6 runs but from the limited video available I would say at least 4 gave that impression. England should be very grateful they did! Their batsmen need to learn from the Australian's mistake.
Looking at the scorecard also reveals that Knight and Taylor both managed scoring rates over 100 hitting only one 6 between them, but 17 4s. There's a lesson there for anyone who cares to learn it.


It also seems either lights have a deleterious effect on the pitch with the associated dew that often appears, or else the effects of days of rain had largely worn off as batsmen on both sides were able to put together reasonable scores. Notable from the card are Healy's 71 at all but a run a ball and Taylor and Knight's contributions at better than the 100 runs/100 ball mark. Knight justifiably took the Player of the Match Award, and the England tail deserve some credit for although no one scored big runs they stuck with her to enable the England innings to finish with something of a flourish.  Megan Schutt starred with the ball with 4-44 although other reporters have suggested that her behaviour wasn't always what one would call in "the Spirit of Cricket".


England now desperately need a win at the North Sydney Oval for an Australian one would mean the Ashes could not be reclaimed, and a draw would leave the daunting prospect of the necessity of winning all three T20s, not an impossible feat but an unlikely one if Healy keeps batting the way she has and Perry is not (obviously) going to be expected to bowl 10 overs and then bat for ages! perhaps they should keep in their minds England winning the World Cup on this very ground in 2009.


[England Team Celebrating the World Cup Win, Sydney 2009]  Don Miles


A Victorious England Team celebrate their World Cup Win
North Sydney Oval, 2009


Next page : The Ashes Test