There was no denying Australia’s dominance in the multi-format Women’s Ashes — they retained the urn after the Test was drawn — but the fact that they didn’t attempt to force a result on the final day caused some consternation.
England had declared their first innings still trailing by 145 runs, but rather than attack with the bat and reinsert England, Australia opted to play for the draw, ending the day with a 375-run lead.
It was a rain-affected match with plenty of time lost, but Australia’s strategy was still baffling. However, Meg Lanning, their captain, said there were plenty of factors taken into consideration.
Australia retain the Ashes! I can’t wait to follow the T20s coming up between these 2 world class teams. Eyes now on @T20WorldCup so the next phase of the Ashes series still holds huge significance #ashes #T20worldcup https://t.co/glJMacgwkn
— Alex Blackwell (@AlexBlackwell2) July 22, 2019
“We thought about [declaring] and had a good chat about what our options were, and whether we could force a result,” she said. “But we looked at how many overs were left, especially given how many wickets were falling.
“Test cricket’s supposed to be hard and a tough battle, and I think that’s exactly what it was. Both teams were trying to get an advantage. I don’t think it was entirely either team’s fault where we ended up in the game.
“At different points, we were trying to win it; we just lost time throughout and it got to a point where we felt we couldn’t win the game.”
The Ashes trophy will be making the trip back down under with the @SouthernStars after the drawn test. Reserved celebrations says they are not done yet either. Perry’s legend grows & new talent unearthed. Congrats all. #Ashes https://t.co/sns6koyNzb
— Mel ‘MJ’ Jones (@meljones_33) July 21, 2019
Despite that, Australia have an 8-2 lead in the points table. The Ashes is in the bag, and there is the security that a series defeat is impossible. However, Lanning and Australia aren’t satiated.
England need to win all three remaining T20Is to make the scoreline 8-8. They did something similar in 2017, winning the T20Is 2-1 to level the overall points in Australia, and the memory still hurts Lanning.
She is determined not to allow a good campaign to finish on a whimper. “We finished eight-all in the Ashes series in Australia in 2017 and we don’t want to feel like that again,” she said. “We know England will come back pretty hard, and they’re a good T20 side, so it’s not going to be easy.”
The T20Is will be played in Chelmsford, Brighton and Bristol on July 26, 28 and 31.