Cricket Australia Items/Blogs/lisa-sthalekar/2013/8/14/four-days-not-enough

Lisa Sthalekar

Four days not enough

14 August 2013 7

With the men's Ashes Test completed inside four days, it meant that the English and Australian cricketing fans could focus on the other Ashes clash, the Women's Test at Wormsley.

In netball the third quarter is called the championship quarter, meaning that whoever was able to focus well and execute their skills correctly would normally come away with the win in the final quarter.  

Day three of this Test was shaping up to be just that with the Australia slightly ahead.

England resumed the days play at 6 for 172 and also resumed the batting partnership that may have just saved the match for England. 

Knight reached the triple figures which was no surprise given the amount of runs that she has accumulated in County cricket this season. 

For Berkshire, Knight has amassed over 800 runs this season in both formats with two centuries and five fifties to show for it.

Knight wasn't done either, as both Marsh and her were the thorn in the Southern Stars side as they batted throughout the first session, giving England hope that they may even finish their first innings in front of the Aussies. 

Their partnership of 156 runs was one run short from breaking the 7th wicket partnership of all time for women's Tests.

After lunch what can only be described as a brain explosion, probably a result of having batted for such a long time (417 mins), Knight hit the ball straight to Haynes at cover and must of thought that the ball was passed her and took off. 

Rightly so Marsh sent her back and she was run out at the strikers end for an amazing 157 runs, giving her third highest knock of all time for England women in a Test match.

Knight wasn't the only English batter breaking records, Marsh at the other end brought up her fifty to record the second slowest for England in both male and female Test cricket, off 291 balls. 

That being said it could prove to be one of the most important as it has probably denied Australia the chance to secure six points.

The last two wickets were a war of attrition with England scoring 45 runs off 28 overs. Osborne picked up the last wicket taking her tally to four for the match, with Ferling the only other bowler taking multiple wickets.

With a 17 run lead, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars began their second innings and I expect would of been looking to score runs quickly in an effort to wrestle back control of the match. 

Unfortunately, this didn't happen through the combination of tight bowling and the English weather.  

Bad light and a light shower intervened to force the players off the ground at different times. 

Fortunately no play was lost as they extended the days play to 7pm, but Australia wasn't able to gain any aggressive momentum.

At stumps this left Australia at 1 for 64, with Lanning (29*) and Elliott (10*) still at the crease and a lead of 81 runs. 

Unless something dramatic happens early on day four this Test is destined to be played out as a draw. 

This will be particularly disappointing for the Stars as throughout the match they have been in the box seat to claim the six points.

It has seemed as though England has played catch up throughout the match and their batting on day three suggested that they would be content with a draw.

Whilst there have been some interesting moments in the match, in my view a four day Test match allows for a team to play for a draw. 

There has been discussions in the past amongst the playing group that five days would more likely see a result.

Lanning was interviewed after the days play and when asked if the one off Test should be five days she commented "yes i do think so. I think it is more likely to have a result and as we've seen on this pitch it has been hard to take wickets. So to take 20 wickets it will be quite difficult within four days. If there was the extra day, I think a result would be more possible."

I think that there is some real merit to this point as fans and players want to see a result. 

I understand why women's Tests are thought to be best played over 4 days but outright results will always be difficult due to the women's wicket not deteriorating in the same way as the men's wickets do. 

The main reason being that bowlers scuff marks don't really come into play as we hardly touch the wicket even over four days. 

Interestingly the Sheffield Shield for instance throughout the Australian men's domestic season is played over four days, but the final is played over five to ensure an outright result is more likely. 

The same reasoning could be applied to the one off Women's Test. 

Just a thought.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.

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