As the final day of the Women’s Test match saw the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars resume at 1-64, everyone was wondering would the Stars make one more push to try to force a win or would they play safe and see out a draw.
There was hope amongst the Aussie supporters and media alike that the Stars would go about scoring runs quickly to get to a magic number somewhere over 200 before declaring.
With six points up for grab my initial thoughts were that both teams would err on the side of caution and be a little more conservative with their approach.
If the Southern Stars were to make a game of this they were going to have to score at a quick rate from the get go and dangle a massive carrot in front of the Poms.
The Barmy Army trumpeter made his way to the game to blasting out Jerusalem and that seemed to inspire the English team as they picked up two quick wickets, Lanning (36) and Elliott (10) who was brilliantly run out by Lydia Greenway with a one handed pick up and direct hit.
All of sudden the momentum had shifted and England were certainly up for the occasion.
With Australia 3-76 and only a lead of 83 runs, England knew that if they could snare another few quick wickets it certainly would open the door to a surprise chance for them to win the match, seeing as they have been chasing the Aussies since the beginning of the match.
Jessica Cameron, the Player of the Finals in both the T20 and ODI World Cups last season, started to show why she won those awards as she looked to swing back the momentum to the Australians.
She hit the first six of the match over cow off Marsh, but just as she was getting comfortable, Cameron fell to ever-reliable Jenny Gunn for 24 off 31.
Jodie Fields continued where Cameron left off hitting two consecutive fours off Bridle’s first over, but Blackwell found it difficult to rotate the strike and get some momentum in her innings as she fell soon after Cameron for 22 of 92 balls.
At 5-150 with a lead of 167 the Aussies didn’t feel secure enough to declare.
It took another 62 overs before the Southern Stars decided to declare and have a crack at England. Field (73*) and Osborne (28*) put on an 81 run partnership with Australia finishing up 5-231 off 124 overs.
With England requiring 249 runs off 45 overs the intent shown by the openers indicated to everyone that they weren’t interested in the run chase and an unlikely win.
Our Aussie quicks tried everything under cloudy conditions, even a little bit of Bodyline bowling and interesting field placements, but the tame wicket of Womsley wasn’t offering much.
The early wicket of Knight (4), England’s saviour in the first innings, being run out by Perry and even Brindle being caught and bowled by Elliott for 20 didn’t really change the momentum of the match. It was like everyone was going through the motions, knowing that the draw was imminent.
In the end both Captains decided to call the game early with England finishing 2-93 and both teams walking away from this one off Test with two points apiece.
I am sure that the Australian dressing room would have been a little deflated at the end of the game with players going through the ebbs and flow of the match, wondering where they missed their opportunities.
As I mentioned above, the Southern Stars were in the box seat for most of the match but at times found it difficult to score runs quickly giving ample time for their bowlers to take the necessary 20 wickets to win the match.
Commenting after the match, Captain Jodie Field stated, “we knew we had to make a positive declaration. Probably the early wickets set us back a little bit (today) and we had to stabilise again. I think we gave it a good crack….we tried our best.”
Heather Knight from England was awarded the Player of the Match after her match saving 157 in the first innings.
With the Test match over we say good-bye to super mum, Sarah Elliott who was only selected for this part of the series.
Will that be the last time that we Sarah in Aussie colours?
All I know is that she has some unfinished business at the top level and her maiden Test century would have given her the confidence to know that she can perform at this level again, with the added bonus of her newly expanded family cheering from the sidelines.
As the teams now switch to the shorter format of the ODI’s then T20s, the Test has certainly shown that it deserves to stay in the fixtures calendar and that hopefully in the future either the girls will play a Test for five days or that there will be more Tests throughout the calendar.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.