Sunday, 1 September 2013

Women's Ashes Post-Mortem

So, that's that... for a few months at least. (As with the men, the next Women's Ashes series is literally just around the corner, in Australia this winter.)

What have we learned?

The Multi-Format Series

It is often said regarding men's cricket, that a one-day rubber played after a Test series feel like a trivial afterthought - the glass of water that you have after you get home from the party.

Folding the one-day cricket, with the T20s and the Test, into one, multi-format series avoided this and created a month-long narrative which generated an unprecedented degree of media coverage and general interest. (Even the sports-phobic girls in my office knew there was a Women's Ashes on... albeit that they had somehow conflated various half-heard stories to conclude that it was the women who did "that thing" at The Oval!!)

The Points System

The points system, however, is broken.  It worked on this occasion only because the Test was drawn. Although England did achieve the one thing I said they couldn't possibly do - i.e. win 5-out-of-6 limited overs games - the way they picked themselves up mentally from a 4-2 deficit would not have been psychologically realistic if it had been 8-0 after Lords.

Australia

Australia have not become a bad team overnight. Yes, they lost by a margin-and-a-half; but as Amy Lofthouse has observed, they looked knackered by the end of the series and were just too exhausted to do themselves justice, particularly in the final game.

England

Batting-wise, England really won this as a team - battling through the Test with Knight and Marsh's amazing stand; then Taylor smashing a couple of big innings at Hove and Chelmsford; before Lydia Greenway dragged a (literally) collapsing order over the line at The Rosebowl and Durham.

England's bowling was more mechanical - based on metronomic rhythms and tight control, rather than spectacular fireworks. No English bowler bowled a ball like the one from Holly Ferling which got Sarah Taylor out in the first innings of the Test... but equally no English bowler had the nightmare that Elise Perry had at Lords.

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