The Women’s Ashes has come to an end, and has been hailed as one of, if not the, best series ever played in women’s cricket.

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However, there is one aspect which is unsatisfactory: the result. An 8-8 draw suggests the teams were closely matched, which they were in one respect. Equally, England won four games to three and two series to one, and yet it’s Australia who retained the Ashes. Ash Gardner admitted that England had outplayed Australia after the series end. There’s a case that the scoreline should reflect this.

Even setting aside any feeling that England were wronged, there are issues with the scoring system, which allows for a draw to be reached in several ways. A different combination of results led to a shared series in 2017/18, with a drawn Test and a white-ball series win each.

Changes to the points system have been made in the past. In 2013/14, England won the Ashes despite losing both white-ball series, with a six-point Test win coming the rescue. Following that, the Test was reduced to four points for a win, and two for a draw. But with the multi-format concept only a decade old, and used sparingly beyond England-Australia contests, there’s no reason to assume that a perfect structure has been reached. Here are five possible alterations, the pros and cons of each, and how each would have affected this year’s Ashes.

Keep the same number of games, change the points

The change: Five points for a Test win, two points for a draw, three points for an ODI win, and two points for a T20I win.

Pros: It just feels better. ODIs arguably should be worth more than T20Is, given they are longer, and less of a lottery, and Tests are kept as the pinnacle.

Cons: It’s complicated, and doesn’t rule out a drawn series. Case in point: the 2023 Women’s Ashes would have been tied under this system.

What would the 2023 result have been? Australia 10-10 England

Reduce the Test match weighting

The change: Three points for a Test win, and one point for a draw.

Pros: In the case of a result, it almost rules out the chance of a drawn overall series, and means that a one-off bad game doesn’t define the series.

Cons: Is making the Test match less important really what we want, or should we be looking to increase the value of long-format cricket? Should your reward for five days of hard slog be only one point more than winning a 20-over thrash? And in any case, if the Test is drawn, a shared series looms large again.

What would the 2023 result have been? England 8-7 Australia

Keep the games and the points, but add bonuses

The change: Each team gets an extra point for each series they win.

Pros: It decreases – though doesn’t eliminate – the chance of a draw, and further rewards excellence across formats.

Cons: With one Test match, an extra point for a ‘series’ victory feels slightly odd. If the Test match is drawn then the series can still end in a draw. Once again it raises the question whether series victories should be treated as equal across all-formats.

What would the 2023 result have been? England 10-9 Australia

Add an ODI

The change: Play one extra ODI match and keep the points system the same.

Pros: Increases the weighting of ODIs over T20Is, with more total points up for grabs from those games, but doesn’t downgrade the Test. Eliminates the possibility of the series finishing all square, even if the Test match ends in a draw.

Cons: An even number of ODIs could result in a drawn ODI series.

What would the 2023 result have been? Whoever won the fourth ODI would be the series winner.

Add a Test match

The change: Play one extra Test match worth the same number of points.

Pros: There have been plenty of calls for more women’s Tests and this would mean two in one summer. It increases the importance of Test matches in the series and means it would last longer. Series narratives, like squad depth and needle, play out better when they are given more time to play out, which Test matches allow. Both teams would get more experience playing Test match cricket and which would increase the quality of the matches.

Cons: If those Tests are played at the same time, two wins for one team would result in the same scenario from this series. Going into both white ball legs eight points down means a team could have to win five of the ODIs and T20Is in order to regain the Ashes. Effectively the series would be over two matches in.

What would the 2023 result have been? N/A