Women are at the heart of driving innovation in cricket – they are not being deterred from it because it is too difficult to understand
I was seven years old when I learnt the cub scout motto: be prepared. It seemed simple enough – a concept which any kid, or mum, might easily embrace. It is worrying therefore that the England and Wales Cricket Board’s most recent proposals, to make “cricket as simple as possible” so that even “mums and kids” might understand it, appears to be lacking in this most basic of areas – preparation.
The Monk’s Tale. That will be the one that England will be reading here in Canterbury as they contemplate a heavy loss in the women’s Test that leaves them needing to win all three Twenty20 matches to win the Ashes.
Moving day. In golf, the penultimate day of a four-day tournament is termed as such because it is when competitors try to set themselves up for the final push in the last round. On the third day of the four-day women’s Ashes Test match here at Canterbury it was Australia who, 106 runs ahead overnight, entered the field of play hoping to move far enough out of reach of England to orchestrate a first Test win on English soil since 2001.
It was a day for the cricketing purists. In an England innings which featured 436 dot balls and saw them bowled out for just 168 to trail the visitors on first innings by 106 runs, the Australian contingent of the healthy Canterbury crowd spent much of it mulling over unwanted reminders of the last time these two teams met in a Test on English soil.
In a devastating spell either side of lunch, Anya Shrubsole tipped the balance England’s way on day one of the women’s Ashes Test here in Canterbury. However, an unbeaten 95 down the order by Australia’s debutant Jess Jonassen frustrated the home side later in the day to leave the match evenly poised with the visitors on 268 for 8.
England head into the first and only Test of their Ashes series on Tuesday knowing that Australia, now 4-2 up in the multi-format series after taking the One Day Internationals 2-1, have found the X-factor so sorely lacking at present in their men. Captain Meg Lanning is living up to her status as number one batter in the world having struck a sublime century in the second ODI to take her series tally to 195.
England’s vice-captain, Heather Knight, last night rued the missed opportunities that propelled England towards a 63-run defeat to Australia in the second oneday international of the women’s Ashes which leaves the series level at 1-1.
Natalie Sciver and Lydia Greenway combined in devastating fashion to give England Women a winning start to their Ashes campaign here as they led their side to an ultimately comfortable victory over Australia.
English cricket is seeking solace after the debacle at Lord’s but while the men were left bruised and battered by Mitchell Johnson, for the women, who begin their Ashes series on Tuesday, the name that strikes fear into the hearts is Meg Lanning.
After success at the rugby and football World Cups, women’s sport is riding high in England, now it is the turn of the cricketers who will fly the flag against Australia.