What an exciting game of Test Cricket we had in Manuka Oval in Canberra. The competitiveness and excitement the test match brought in the last day will push demand for more Test matches in women’s cricket.
England needed 13 runs in the last two overs, and Australia needed only one wicket for the Ashes Test win.
Both England and Australia deserve the credit for bringing up the excitement on the fourth day. The match also saw the grit and character of players on both sides.
England responded to Australia’s first innings score of 337 with a brilliant century from Captain Heather Knight. England finished their first innings with 297 after their initial batting collapse. We saw another England captain standing tall amidst the batting collapse in the Ashes in Australia this time around.
Australia started the second innings losing their openers quickly. Rain delayed the match for the most part on day three. Once the game resumed on day four, an injured Beth Mooney scored a half-century.
Ellyse Perry, Tahlia McGrath, Ashleigh Gardner chipped in with handy runs. Aussies could have enforced a draw by batting more overs. However, Meg Lanning made the brave call to declare the innings and set England a target of 257 in 48 overs.
England responded well to the challenge in the fourth innings on day four. Openers added 52 runs for the first wicket. Captain Heather Knight contributed once again with 48. Nat Sciver scored a brilliant half-century.
While the top four batted sensibly and kept the required rate under control Sophia Dunkley with a 32 ball 45 poised the game in favor of them.
The final 10 Overs that turned the Test Match:
England needed 48 runs in the last 10 overs with 7 wickets in hand. Australia then fought back with King and Sutherland striking with wickets.
England needed 13 runs in 14 balls with three wickets in hand. A brilliant run out of Anya Shrubsole and the wicket of Charlie Dean in consecutive balls put Australia back in the game again. King and A Healy were the partners in bringing Australia back into the winning position with those two quick wickets.
In the end, it turned out to be one of the greatest matches in the history of Test Cricket. England survived 12 remaining balls for a draw with their number 10 and 11 batters in the crease. England has seen themselves executing a brave chase taking them to a winning position, then losing a few quick wickets, and surviving the last two overs of the match with only one wicket in hand.
Australians were brave pushing for a result with their declaration. England has put them under pressure, and the way they fought back will certainly encourage more to watch Women’s cricket.
Both the captains deserve an applaud for making this a perfect Ashes Test. Aussies Captain Meg Lanning deserves the credit for her brave decision to declare their second innings. Heather Knight, The English Captain led the team with a fighting ton. Her team also showcased the character with a historic chase. They were brave to go after the target and managed to do an excellent job.
The match sends another reminder of why should the cricket world have more Women’s Test Matches. The more they play the format, the more we may see such exciting games, and many people turn out to watch them play.