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http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/Blogs/lisa-sthalekar/2013/8/20/ashes-still-alive

Lisa Sthalekar


Ashes still alive at Lord's

20 August 2013 3

In the past, the Women’s Ashes would have already been completed with Australia retaining the trophy after the recent draw last week at Wormsley.

Now that doesn’t sound bad too for an Aussie supporter given the poor performances from our male team in their current Ashes series, but with the new format for this Women’s Ashes series being played over three formats, the drawn test saw both teams receive two points,  meaning the Ashes series is still very much alive for both teams.

On equal points, England need to win more than three games to regain the Ashes whereas Australia only need to win three out of the six remaining matches to retain the Ashes.

This Ashes Series is certainly heading down the path of being a nail bitting series.

With the one off Test completed we say goodbye to a format that is rarely played at an International level for women and move to the more recognisable formats of 50-over and T20 cricket.

Does this give an advantage to one team?

If anything the advantage should be with the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, who are recent World Champions in both the formats, but if we were to look closely at the contests during those World Cups between the two countries they were certainly close. Actually, excruciatingly close.

England did beat Australia in the pool matches in the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka last September, but Australia gained revenge in the match that counted, the final, winning by the margin of four runs.

In the 50-over World Cup in Mumbai played in February this year, Australia narrowly beat England by two runs in the super sixes stage. Therefore, England will certainly be up for the contest and I expect the matches to be competitive and close.

The England 50-over squad has changed slightly from the Test squad which sees Danni Wyatt, who played a key role in the side in India earlier this year, left out.

The player to replace her is Holly Colvin, the left-arm spinner who was a shock omission from the Test team.  Georgia Elwiss, who was also part of the 50-over World Cup squad, has been replaced by Natalie Sciver as she hasn’t recovered sufficiently from a stress reaction in her back.

England would have taken some confidence out of the Test knowing that they are still in with an opportunity to regain the Ashes, but they will rely heavily on Edwards and Taylor at the top of the order to score the bulk of their runs.

Players to look out for that can provide valuable runs in the middle order as they adapt extremely well to the situation of the game and run like rabbits between the wickets are Lydia Greenway and Arran Brindle.

It will be interesting to see where England slot Heather Knight in the batting line up after her matching winning 157 runs during last week’s Test match.

During the World Cup, Knight came in at No. 5, but you would imagine she would replace Wyatt at the top of the order to open with her captain, Edwards.

From a bowling perspective Shrubsole will look to take her form from the Test into the shorter formats and her last 50-over match against Australia where she ripped through the top order taking 3-24 off her 10 overs.

She will lead the attack despite Brunt having played that crucial role for a number of years.

Although this isn’t entirely surprising as for those at the ground during the Test noticed that Brunt was down in pace, most likely a result of her coming back from injury.

Also let’s not forget the English spinners who bowled flat and rather quick during the Test, which may be more effective in the shorter formats with that type of bowling by applying pressure to the Australian batters who will want to go after them.

Colvin may be the point of difference as the left-arm orthodox that will flight the ball as long as she doesn’t have the ‘yips’.

If we are to compare the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, they would have been disappointed with the outcome of the Test, but they do head into formats that they have had recent success, World Cup success and the group has largely stayed the same.

To assist in the Stars preparation for the shorter formats they had the opportunity to play another warm-up match against England Women’s A team on Saturday.

If we can take anything from that match about the possible line- up for the Aussie’s, Alyssa Healy might have played her way into the team having opened the batting and scoring 41 runs, hitting six fours before she was retired. The only question is where she will bat?

Having opened the batting in the warm-up match, you would still think that the Aussies will continue to open with Lanning and Haynes despite Haynes not batting in that match.

The position that Healy could take is either No. 4, with Blackwell moving down to five, or coming in at number five herself.

A number of players were retired against England Women’s A to allow valuable time in the middle with Lanning (61) top scoring, Osborne (40) combining again with Perry (38*) who blasted for fours and a huge six before she was retired.

This gave Australia a grand total of 6-306 off their 50 overs.

The match was rain affected as England Women’s A were required to chase 226 off 30 overs  based on the Duckworth-Lewis method.

The Stars made light work of their opposition with no bowler being hit for more than 30 runs and all picking up a wicket and England Women’s A finishing on 9-124.

Players of note that didn’t feature in the test match were Hunter (2-19) who seemed to recover well from an injury that left her out of the side and Jonassen (2-11) that may feature if the selectors feel the wicket might take to spin.

It will be a hard selection for the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars as the first ODI is being played at Lord's, the home of cricket this Tuesday.

It is every cricketers dream to be able to say that you have represented your country and played at Lord's.

The history associated with the changes rooms and the Long Room is what dreams are made of and for those who don’t get the nod, never fear because the three-course lunch will be waiting for you to devour, best cricket lunch on earth!!

No matter whom the Southern Stars select I would think there experience and recently success over England will be enough for them to play well in the rest of the Series, but hold onto your hats as whoever wins the first couple of ODI matches are in the box seat and momentum is everything in competitions like this.

To follow the progress of the Southern Stars, the first ODI will be live streamed on http://www.cricket.com.au/southern-stars-live courtesy of the ECB.

Southern Stars Correspondent, have never written so much before, Lisa Sthalekar

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

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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