Women's Ashes Test
Taunton a case for five-day Tests: Aussies
Australia's coach and captain say tame Ashes draw could have had an entertaining finale had another day's play been afforded
Laura Jolly in Taunton
22 July 2019, 06:00 PM AEST
Australia captain Meg Lanning and coach Matthew Mott believe there's a case to be made for women's Test matches to be stretched to five days, after the sole red-ball game of the multi-format Ashes ended in a draw on Sunday.
The Test in Taunton – for the women, a four-day affair – petered out into a draw on Sunday afternoon, with the two sessions lost to rain on day two, a docile pitch and slow scoring rates meaning neither Australia nor England were able to force a result.
England needed to win the match to keep the points-based series alive, while Australia – once convinced there was no time to bowl their rivals out a second time – were content to bat out the final day and collect the two points on offer for a draw, ensuring they'll retain the Ashes in the process.
"We ran out of time, basically, and maybe it's an advertisement for five-day Test matches in women's cricket," Mott said on Sunday.
"Certainly four (days), and then you take out half a day out of it (for rain), it wasn't enough and I think it would have been an awesome day tomorrow had we had the extra day."
Lanning agreed, believing it's something that should be given consideration with women's Tests occurring just once every two years as part of the Ashes.
While there are only four days of play, there are 100 overs bowled each day, meaning there's the potential for 400 overs in which to get a result, as opposed to 450 across five in men's Tests.
"(A fifth day) would've helped get a result," Lanning said. "It probably wouldn't have been a drab day (on Sunday) if we had a day five but we both knew it was four days coming in.
"It's not a decision for us to make but I guess it's something to look at."
The last Test between Australia and England, at North Sydney Oval in November 2017, also ended in a draw, prompting the same calls at the time from stand-in Australia captain Rachael Haynes and England leader Heather Knight.
Nothing changed in the interim, and the next women's Test won't be played until England next tour Australia in the summer of 2021-22.
England coach Mark Robinson had a different take on the issue, suggesting that holding women's Tests more frequently was the priority before extending their length.
Currently, only Australia and England play the format.
"You've got to try and get more Tests, and more countries playing Test match cricket," Robinson said.
"I think we all would agree it would help the development of the players.
"(These) games allow quicks to run in, it allows batters to bat time, build innings, be tactically better.
"It would help not just our team, but all teams round the world, the development of their players, (and that should happen) before we get to saying we should be playing five days in England v Australia.
"It would definitely help the long-term development of female cricketers, to be able to bat with patience and the biggest essential thing is spinning the ball or swinging it or bowling seam."
As it stood, Australia batted through the final two sessions to finish 7-230 in their second innings when the match ended in a stalemate with an hour to play on Sunday, holding a lead of 375.
Asked if he had considered setting England a sporting declaration on Sunday in lieu of a fifth day of play, Mott didn't mince his words.
"We needed a little bit more in the wicket to roll the dice," Mott said. "I don't think England deserved the right to win the game for where they were in the game, so that's the way it was.
"We're not a charity, we don't give up a result that easily. We've won the first three ODIs and we deserve the opportunity to bat it out.
"We weren't prepared to roll that dice and give England a chance when they didn't really earn the right to it."
CommBank Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
England Test squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Kirstie Gordon, Amy Jones, Laura Marsh, Nat Sciver, Anya Shrubsole (vc), Lauren Winfield, Sarah Taylor
Australia lead England 8-2
First ODI: Australia won by two wickets
Second ODI: Australia won by four wickets
Third ODI: Australia won by 194 runs
July 18-21: Match Drawn
July 26: First T20, County Ground, Chelmsford
July 28: Second T20, The County Ground, Hove