Phoebe Graham says England may not have won the Women’s Ashes but they proved they have a bright future and Australia are not invincible…
What a wonderful lady Ash!
Despite a record-breaking crowd, a thrilling finish and England winning four out of seven games and claiming two white-ball series victories, Australia retained the Ashes.
It was no small feat for England to draw the series. The Australian team is a prolific trophy winner. He is a T20 and ODI World Cup winner, an Ashes winner and a Commonwealth Games winner. They had not lost a single ODI series in over a decade.
England entered the Ashes with an ‘all or nothing’ mindset. They were supposed to focus on positive, powerful and impactful players. This became evident in the selection of Lauren Filler for the Test match.
Filler’s raw pace took the Australians by surprise and exposed some weaknesses – she took the wicket of Ellyse Perry in both innings. England coach John Lewis also handed Danny Wyatt his first Test cap at the age of 32.
Wyatt is renowned for his aggressive style of play and this gave him the freedom to compete against Australia. Lewis was not afraid to try something out of the box to frustrate that ‘unstoppable’ Australian attack.
Australia, on the other hand, were entering the Ashes without the captaincy of Meg Lanning and without Matthew Mott as head coach. Alyssa Healy had big shoes to fill and her captaincy style was more relaxed.
Perhaps reflecting Australia’s lack of discipline, catches were dropped and too many extra balls were bowled. In the first ODI, he bowled 17 wides, the most by a non-Australian.
Australia gradually lost their sheen throughout the series and the weaknesses of the new talent were exposed. Phoebe Litchfield averaged 13 in the ODI series and Tahlia McGrath averaged 18. England were able to attack the nerves of the Australian team and really rattled them.
‘England’s fire and aggression did the job; ‘Australia was made to look like a human’
England’s loss of the Test and the first T20 meant they were 6–0 on points. Typically, the nation was heaved with sighs of “another English summer”. But it felt different. They lost to the Australian team but by a good margin. The fire, the positivity, the aggression, was working and inspiring a nation.
Lewis empowered his players to really maximize their potential and now they need to do so in winning moments. With determination and belief, his fortunes changed in front of a record-breaking 21,6000 fans at the Kia Oval. This was the first time that a Women’s T20I series was played at the iconic Test venues at Edgbaston, The Oval and Lord’s.
England were looking dangerous but this time their spin attack with Sarah Glenn, Charlie Dean and Sophie Ecclestone, combined with their batting firepower, was unstoppable. Wyatt, who was adjudged the player of the T20I series, scored a brilliant 76 off 46 balls in the second game.
England managed to get into a position where if they had won all three ODIs, they would have won the Ashes. The nation was really behind them and the Australians looked troubled.
We played two thrilling games of cricket. The first was an incredible victory for England, with Kate Cross scoring 19 not out from number 10, including a four off Megan Schutt. This, combined with Heather Knight’s 75, got them over the line.
Nat Sciver-Brunt was phenomenal in this series, scoring consecutive centuries in the last two ODIs, but in the second game, England needed seven runs from two balls and unfortunately fell short. An impressive win at Taunton meant that the series was drawn 8–8.
Australia regained the Ashes and Healy said, “It’s got a grimmer face than a smile”. Australia had not earned the urn and were embarrassed to lift it after so many valiant efforts by England.
This is a big turning point for English cricket. England has busted this myth – Australians are human and they make mistakes.
Ashes cricket was amazing, the fans were fantastic. We saw huge crowds, record-breaking audiences, 110,000 fans attended the entire series and a third of all ticket buyers were women.
These are really exciting times for English cricket. We have unearthed more new talent and under Lewis we are starting to see what England are really capable of.
Catch the England women’s team back in action on Sky Sports in late August and September as they play three T20 Internationals and as many One Day Internationals against Sri Lanka.