Are female cricketers equipped to play Test #cricket?

As the dust settles from the most recent women’s Test match that saw the underdogs, India beat current Ashes holders England, doubts about the sustainability of Test matches in the future where whispered amongst all female cricket supporters.

Novices solely perusing the scorecards would question if women have the ability to play an attractive brand of Test cricket. Those that love and understand women’s cricket know that the mentioned match had the unique pressure that is only seen when representing your country in a Test match.

Although a result occurred in the Test, both teams struggled with the conditions during the first few days. Limping to well below par scores of 92 and 114 respectively in their first innings total.

Here are some considerations to be made regarding this Test before judgment is made on the longevity of women’s Tests.

  • ECB asked the groundsmen to make the pitch more lively to allow a more even contest between bat vs ball, as last years Test on the same pitch was drawn out over four long fruitless days.
  • The preparation of the Test pitch was constrained due to a fair amount of rain that saw it covered for long periods of time. Therefore there was no hesitation by Indian captain, Mithali Raj to send England in on a juicy wicket.
  • Both teams have had limited opportunities to play Test cricket. India played their last Test eight years ago. It was no surprise then that eight players made their debut. England on the other hand had a higher number of experienced players, however their last Test was 12 months ago.

Based on the lack of match opportunities in this longer format, players are not experienced enough to make it an attractive form of the game for new spectators of women’s cricket. Female cricketers play predominately one-day matches (50 overs) and Twenty/20, with the latter the most dominant form of the game.

Having been involved in the game for over a decade I have certainly seen the improvement and the change in focus in the women’s game. The girls concentrate on hitting and bowling the ball with power, as strength is now a huge component of a player’s preparation.

Whilst training and coaching at the Cricket NSW Indoor centre, I have seen the difference in how the male players train compared to the females. The majority of the time spent in the nets with the girls is about generating pace when hitting the ball, instead of tightening up their forward defense and building an innings which are necessary skills required to be successful in the test arena.

Australian female players only play 50 over and T20 matches in the domestic competitions. The Women’s National Cricket League and the Women’s T20 using white balls. Playing with a red ball in a Test match or club cricket is a rarity.

Representative players in the Australian domestic competitions have limited opportunities to play club cricket due their State and or National commitments and again reinforcing limited opportunities to play with a red cricket ball.

It is a known fact that the white ball doesn’t swing in the same way as the red ball. Therefore batters don’t necessarily need to focus on their defense and leaving the ball. Instead the focus is on how they can manipulate a good length delivery for runs.

We have seen in the media England’s captain, Charlotte Edwards mentioned that the players want to play more Tests; it is the ultimate challenge for a player to see if you can physically and mentally perform well over four consecutive days.

If the players want to play more Tests how can the matches be more competitive, whilst accurately showcasing the players skill level?

Apart from providing more opportunities for the players to adapt to the format and playing with a red ball, I would argue there is a much simpler and easy way that may make a difference.

In preparing the Test pitch, could it be prepared as a day three wicket for the start of the Test?

The very fact that the girls are lighter means that they hardly affect the pitch’s condition throughout the duration of the Test.

As a spin bowler I loved playing Test matches, I was able to have fielders around the bat and time to tactically out think and set up the batter. Yet in all of my eight Tests I never came across a wicket that broke up on the last day or had large foot marks to target, which didn’t allow the spinners to come into their own.

My theory behind preparing the pitches differently is that the new ball will swing and swing for a lot longer than what the girls are use to, not to mention that the first session of any Test match is a nervous period for everyone. Therefore we will still see an even contest between bat and ball.

By day two and three, you will see the wicket flatten out allowing batters to find the conditions easier and then hopefully by day four the spinners will come into play, testing the batters techniques in a way that is rarely seen in women’s cricket.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe the last two Test matches that have been played have provided a lot of excitement as both teams tried to gain back the ascendancy through patience and resilience.

But is there another way to skin a cat?

Should the actual question be do female Test pitches need to be prepared differently?

Shooting Stars start their Sri Lankan tour with a comprehensive win. Brief match report

The Shooting Stars have begun their Sri Lankan tour in style by beating the Sri Lankan Development Squad by 9 wickets with plenty of overs to spare. 

After two days of training in the humid Colombo conditions the girls were ready to try their skills against an unknown opposition.

There are 14 players that have travelled over here, each with their own unique purpose for the tour. Four players are over here to get used to sub-continent conditions before the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh and the others have been identified for the future and it is all about giving them opportunities to perform at the next level.


With 14 players touring and it being all about opportunities all players will play all the matches.


Alyssa Healy was named Captain for the first match and started well by winning the toss and electing to bowl at the SSC Ground in Colombo.


Sri Lanka Development XI 10-147 defeated by Shooting Stars 1-149 off 23.3 overs

Key Moments:

  • The Sri Lankan’s came out of the blocks quickly as the Australian openers struggled to find the right length and line. It wasn’t until Rene Farrell struck in her next two overs that Sri Lanka was reduced to 3-52 off 8 overs, and the ascendancy swung the Shootings Stars way. Rene was even on a hat-trick at one stage. She couldn’t convert the hat-trick but went on to return the figures of 5-29 off 7.3 overs.
  • Kristen Beams (0-5 off 7 overs) and Sarah Aley (2-27 off 7 overs) then put the squeeze on to really bring the momentum back to the Shooting Stars.
  • All the bowlers played their role as the Shooting Stars continually picked up wickets and eventually bowled Sri Lanka out in the 45th over.
  • Beth Mooney (40 off 46) and Nicole Bolton (57 off 44) got the Shooting Stars off to the perfect start as they hit the loose ball and rotated the strike. Eventually they were both retired when the score was on 100 in the 15th over.
  • It didn’t take the Shooting Stars much longer to pass their score and with the early finish it allowed both teams to continue to play again providing more opportunities.
  • In the second part of the match, we saw Grace Harris contact with plenty of balls as she hit four x fours and four x sixes to score an impressive 53 runs off 32 deliveries.


  • Rene Farrell 5-29 off 7 overs                           • Nicole Bolton 57* (44)
  • Kara Sutherland 0-24 off 4 overs                     • Beth Mooney 40* (46)
  • Sarah Aley 2-27 off 7 overs                             • Alyssa Healy 42 (37)
  • Kristen Beams 0-5 off 7 overs                         • Bridget Patterson 45* (47)
  • Jemma Barsby 1-18 off 7 overs                      • Grace Harris 53 (32)
  • Angela Reakes 0-20 off 7 overs                      • Delissa Kimmince 23* (16)
  • Molly Strano 1-15 off 5 overs

What is Next:

Today is a rest day and tomorrow the Shooting Stars take on the main Sri Lankan team in two T20s that will be played at the ground where the Southern Stars won the T20 World Cup…happy memories.

Until next time!

The England team have retained the #WomensAshes, after a high scoring affair in the first T20 match. Summary of the match

In the first of three double-header matches with the men, this women’s T20 match had a lot more at stake than the men’s match….The Ashes were up for grabs, with the Southern Stars fighting their way back into the contest after losing the Test Match and six vital points at the same time.


With the change in format, we again saw a number of changes by both sides.

For Australia there were two changes:

  • Nicole Bolton out for Elyse Villani – Villani for a long time has been seen as a T20 specialist,  and despite not having a great Test and first ODI match, was recalled to the team.
  • Holly Ferling out for Sarah Coyte – With Australia wanting to take the pace out of their attack and bolster their batting order it was an easy selection to bring Coyte in who has been out due to injury since the Test match.

England made three changes:

  • Anya Shrubsole out for Natasha Farrant – Shrubsole was ruled out of the match in the morning
  • Heather Knight out for Dani Wyatt – According to reports, Knight was also ruled out of today’s match because of an injury.
  • Kate Cross out for Georgia Elwiss – Elwiss has been in and out of the English team, but provides a little more experience and the variation required in T20 cricket. 


With Jodie Fields still injured Meg Lanning Captained her first T20 match and was successful with the toss of the coin and elected to bat.


England 1/151 defeated Australia 3/150 by 9 wickets with 13 balls to spare

Points Tally:

England 10 points

Australia 4 points

With only 4 points left up for grabs in the series, England have retained the Ashes.

Key Moments:

  • With a change in the batting order we saw Blackwell open. This pushed Lanning down the order to her preferred position of number 3. It seemed to suit her extremely well as she scored her highest individual score in T20 cricket with an unbeaten 78 runs off 56 balls.
  • At the back end of the Australian innings, the partnership between Ellyse Perry and Meg Lanning lifted the scoring rate and scored 46 runs off four overs, allowing the Southern Stars to post a competitive total of 150, just 3 runs shy of the highest score ever by Australia.
  • During the period of the 6th – 12th (27 deliveries) the Australians didn’t score a boundary, this I believe meant that the Australians were 10-15 runs short in the end.
  • From the first ball that Charlotte Edwards faced, by cutting a wide delivery to the boundary there was a steely determination written on her face stating that she was going to do everything in her power to bring home the Ashes. By the fall of the first wicket Edwards was 30 having hit six 4’s, indicating her intent.
  • Charlotte Edwards produced one of her best innings that I have ever seen her play with an unbeaten 92 runs off 59 balls.
  • With Sarah Taylor and Charlotte in the middle and looking extremely comfortable Australia had to take the half chances. Unfortunately for the Southern Stars they missed a run out and a tough leg-side stumping.
  • The Australian bowling attack didn’t find their groove at all within the 20 overs as they bowled two sides of the wicket and with two quality batters at the crease, England made light work the total. 
  • I would be intrigued to know why Ellyse Perry and Erin Osborne, two of Australia’s frontline bowlers, weren’t used within the first 10 overs and in my opinion used too late against two set batters.

Where to now:

  • The Ashes are now tied up with England, but for the Australians in the words of Alex Blackwell “we want to win a series within a series.” 
  • There is still much at stake with the T20 World Cup being held in Bangladesh late March, where Australia will try and retain the trophy for the third consecutive time.
  • Finally both teams will now start to try and figure out what their best bowling and batting line-ups are, therefore some key players may be rested whilst others are given a go.

Ones to watch:

  • With the Series wrapped up all eyes turn towards the coaches and selectors to see what selection strategies they adopt.




The @SouthernStars have kept the #WomensAshes series alive with a nail biting finish. Match highlights

On a beautiful summers day in Hobart, the Southerns Stars celebrated Australia Day the only way they knew how to, with a close but extremely important win.

Today was the last ODI match of the Series with the Australians requiring to win all remaining fixtures to regain the convented Ashes trophy.

Having watched and played a lot of cricket, I would have to say that this win was exceptional and of the highest standards. An enthralling ODI match that yielded over 500 runs in a days play, that went down to the last over and had all the drama and theatre that is synonymous with Ashes cricket.


After the Southern Stars clinched their first Ashes victory this summer, Meg Lanning and her team remained the same for the third ODI.

England on the other-hand made one change. It was no surprise to see Danni Wyatt dropped, but the surprising factor was that a bowler didn’t come in to replace her, instead it was another batter Amy Jones.


England won their first toss in this ODI Series and had no hesitation to bat on a flat pitch with a lightening outfield.


Australia 6-269 defeated England 4-268 by 4 wickets with 3 balls to spare

Points Tally:
England 8 points
Australia 4 points
4 points still up for grabs in the remaining three T20s.

Key Moments:

* Sarah Taylor woken in the last ODI match in Melbourne, continued where she left off by time the ball extremely well. It was dangerous times for the Australians until Jessica Cameron pulled off her trade mark “sensational catch” to dismiss Taylor for 64 runs off 57 balls.

* I felt that England were in a position to really accelerate and post a formidable total of 280 plus. But the fact that the Australian bowlers were able to keep Lydia Greenway (25 off 48) and Arran Brindle (*26 off 25) quiet, halted their momentum.

* Jenny Gunn has an ability to change the game and today was no different as she combined with Sarah Taylor to affect the crucial leg-side stumping of a brutal Meg Lanning (40 off 30). Australia were still in a good position but when Gunn also ran out Jessica Cameron at the non-strikers end off a deflection, I felt that the tide had turned and England were in the box seat.

* Australia fought back with Alex Blackwell registering her third 50 from just as many ODIs, combining nicely with Ellyse Perry to put on an 86 run partnership to give Australia hope.

* Dani Hazell was the standout bowler for both sides bowling her ten overs and picked up the key wicket of Nicole Bolton (31) returning the figures of 1-25.

* Ellyse Perry timed her innings to perfection and didn’t seem flustered in her match winning innings to remain unbeaten on 90 runs off 95 deliveries. She managed to shift up a gear when required and showed the class to be now considered in my opinion the best all-rounder in the world.

* Erin Osborne, might have just played her best innings for Australia. Coming in with the run rate getting close to 9 runs per over, England tried to squeeze her, but she was up for the challenge finding the boundary with ease. Erin’s 40 runs off 25 balls allowed Perry not to panic as they were able to get it down to a run a ball for the last over and eventually win with 3 balls left.

Where to Now:

* England would be gutted with that lost and I am sure all players and coaching staff will be wondering where they went wrong and how they let it slip from their grasp. Psychologically it is a huge blow for them and on the flip side the Australian have got some wind in their sails and now have the belief.

* I believe that England got their selections wrong by opting for another batter (who didn’t actually bat) instead of a bowler. Charlotte Edwards seemed to have run out of bowlers by the end of the innings which cost her team dearly.

* The Women’s Ashes Series now heads to three T20s that will act as the curtain raiser for the men. The Australians have had their success against England such as the T20 World Cup in 2012, so hopefully they can open up a few scares.

* I would expect a few changes from both sides as they try to find the right balance of players in the shortest format of the game. Jodie Fields may return to Captain and keep, but a question to all of you, do you change a winning formula?

Ones to watch:

Meg Lanning has been extremely quiet throughout the Ashes Series with the bat but today showed why she is one of the most exciting batters in the game.

Charlotte Edwards will again lead from the front both with the bat and on the field. She has the ability to inspire the best from their players and with so much at stake she will lift to another level.

Sarah Taylor has impressed with the bat the last couple of ODIs and has been exceptional behind the stumps. She is a real danger player for Australia

Ellyse Perry has a knack to put on a brilliant performance when matches are televised and seeing as she is hitting the ball well, I don’t see that coincidence changing.


If you missed it, the @SouthernStars fought back @MCG with their first victory in the #WomensAshes. Catch the match highlights

With the English women requiring one more victory to clinch the Women’s Ashes, the Southern Stars enjoyed a mini break to attend the Allan Border Medal in Sydney.


After an amazing couple of days, Meg Lanning took out the Belinda Clark Medal; two points clear of her nearest rival, Erin Osborne.


Belinda Clark, also was rightfully acknowledged for her prowess on the field, as she became the first female to be inducted into the Australian Cricketers Hall of Fame along with Mark Waugh.




As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and that was exactly what England did as they remained with the same winning side from Sunday’s first ODI.


Nothing was mentioned about Katherine Brunt’s back, but rumours have it that it is a tour ending injury and it will be interesting to see if they send her home or keep her within the group for experience.


For the Australians, there was only one change.  Indicating that Jodie Fields and Sarah Coyte are still out injured.  The top order has struggled for runs during this Ashes series as well as the last, therefore Elyse Villani made way for the highest run scorer in the WNCL this season, Nicole Bolton.


Nicole Bolton was presented her ODI cap by Jodie Fields and became the 127th player to represent Australia in this format.


The Toss:


For the second time in a row, Meg Lanning won the toss and had no hesitation to bat first.




Australia 7 – 266 defeated England All out 240 by 26 runs


Women’s Ashes Series Point Score:


England 8 points

Australia 2 points

There is still 8 more points up for grabs


Key Moments:


  • It was a nervous start for Bolton as she should have been run out without troubling the scorers, then she was dropped in the 5th & 6th over of the match. England just weren’t switched on in the field nor did they bowl with any consistency and they paid the ultimate price


  • Bolton certainly took the chances given to post her maiden hundred and become the first Australian female to score a century on debut. Bolton’s 124 runs took the pressure off the rest of the top order as she played all around the ground.


  • Jessica Cameron (44) came out of her shell to display the skills that has seen walk away with Player of the Match performance in the last two World Cup finals. Some of the shots that we saw that are synonymous with Cameron were her lusty blows over mid-off and the reverse sweep.


  • Australia was on track to post a score of 280 plus, but England fought back well late in the innings by picking up three wickets for 10 runs, restricting the Southern Stars to 7 for 266.


  • With a change in the bowling order for Australia, Holly Ferling took the new ball for the first time in her short career and after the first ball it was a stroke of genius. Ferling removed the English captain, Edwards for a golden duck.


  • Sarah Taylor seemed to be protected as she was dropped down the order to No. 4. That meant that Greenway was promoted, in a move that I believe restricted her impact on the game as Greenway is a wonderful finisher and seems more comfortable facing the older ball.


  • A positive for England despite the loss were that Heather Knight (55) and Taylor (63) were able to get amongst the runs for the first time.


  • England were clawing their way back in the match, when Bolton completed the fairytale when she ran out Taylor to swing the momentum back in Australia’s favour.


  • Natalie Sciver (57 off 42) seems the real deal. It was the first time that I had seen her live and her understanding of her game and the situation nearly pulled of a miracle innings to snatch victory under the noses of the Australians.


Where to now:


  • The final ODI will be played on Australia Day in Hobart in two days time, meaning that Australia have a great opportunity to get some momentum behind them.


  • England will need to be sharper in the field if they are going to regain the Ashes and as Taylor alluded to, sometimes you just have to accept that you have had a shocker and move on.


  • Dani Wyatt hasn’t given England much in the two ODI’s and wouldn’t be surprised to see a change. England may look to Elwiss for experience, but I would like to see another spinner added to the team for Hobart.

England are only 1 win away from retaining the #WomensAshes. Link to my cheat sheet on today’s match

The Test match was completed last week in Perth with England coming away with the crucial 6 points.

Now the Women’s Ashes Series moves to the more recognisable format of One-Day and T20 cricket.

After both teams had to deal with the extreme heat of Melbourne, the conditions today at the MCG were certainly more favourable, but I am sure the last few days would have taken it out of all the players. Who was going to come out of the blocks quickly?

With the change in format we saw both teams tinker with their line up for the first ODI.

Injuries have played a role with this, no other than the most notable change with the current Australian Captain, Jodie Fields sustaining a broken thumb at yesterday’s training therefore allowing Meg Lanning to become the 16th Captain of Australia.
As Meg stepped up, Alyssa Healy was also called into the team having not been selected initially in the ODI squad to take over the gloves and is no mug with the bat too.

Sarah Coyte also joined Fields on the bench with a thigh injury, allowing for Julie Hunter to make her way back into the team.
Plus with the shorter format Jess Jonassan comes in for Sarah Elliott who was only selected for the Test.

For England there was one change from the Test team with Katherine Brunt succumbing to a recurring back injury. With 3 seamers already in the team and the fact that spin does play a crucial role in the shorter format, England decided to go with Danni Wyatt.

The Toss:
Lanning started her captaincy positively by winning the toss and electing to bat.

Key Moments:
• Despite a slow start (that might have cost them 20 -30 runs) by Australia they were able to build an unbeaten 141 partnership between Alex Blackwell (82*) and Ellyse Perry (65*).
• Both Blackwell and Perry did have a life each, as Sarah Taylor missed two leg-side stumpings. They both would have been extraordinary, but we tend to have extremely high standards from her.
• The last 6 overs of the first innings went for 61 runs to give the Australians a defendable total of 209.
• Charlotte Edwards again led from the front to stabilise England’s innings at the top and whilst she continues to start her innings well, England look comfortable.
• Sarah Taylor again didn’t trouble the scorers. After 3 innings in the Women’s Ashes Series she has only scored a total of 10 runs, this either means that she is going again through a lean trot or is about to explode. Let’s hope for the Aussies sake it is former.
• Lydia Greenway (69*) and Arran Brindle (64*) have a wealth of experience and managed to trump the Australians partnership by 1 run, to finish with a match winning 142 run partnership.

Where to now:
• With their backs up against the wall the Australians are now required to win the remaining 5 matches if they are to regain the Ashes, which is a tough ask by any standards. All the matches are relatively close together so if they can win one, they could get on a role.
• Hopefully the Australian selectors will find a place for Nic Bolton as she adds something different to the team. Not only is she is form both domestically and in tour matches, she also bowls some handy off-spin and finally the English girls wouldn’t know too much about her.
• England are on top and don’t look like they are going to let up. They had a disappointing 2012/2013 season by not coming away with any of the silverware in the World Cups, therefore with the T20 World Cup only a couple of months away they will want to keep this momentum going.

Halfway point of the #WomensAshes sees the @SouthernStars edge ahead!

Despite not being able to get over to Perth to watch the Southern Stars begin their campaign to regain the Ashes, I have been making full use of the coverage on ABC Grandstand Digital and the linking of the commentary with the live stream through Cricket Australia website.

For those that haven’t really been following the ball-by-ball coverage I thought that I would provide a cheat’s guide to what has happened so far in the Test match to bring you up to speed with the goings on so far.

The toss:
Charlotte Edwards had the first win of the Ashes Series winning the toss, electing to bat

There were 3 debutants for this one-off Test.

Elyse Villani came into the Australian side at the expense of Rachel Haynes who opened the batting in the Test match played in England in the last series. Whilst I am really happy for ‘Junior’, who was worked hard to make her way back into the team, I do spare a thought for Nicole Bolton who was named 12th.

Bolton has been in form during the domestic season, and after her 85 and 2/18 in the Tour Match, I thought she had done enough to earn her Test debut. In my opinion she is better suited to the longer format. By going with Villani the Southern Stars indicated their intention of wanting a result this match and the vital 6 points that comes with it.

The English team went with 2 debutants, Nat Sciver and Kate Cross. Sciver burst onto the scene in the 2013 women’s Ashes clash and played a crucial role lower down the order in the ODIs and T20s.

Cross was selected ahead of Georgia Elwiss as the third quick bowler. I expect this was because the English want to utilise the bounce and pace of the WACA pitch, sending a similar message in selections that the Australians did, wanting the firepower to pick up the 20 wickets to ensure the win for them.

Day 1 Key Moments:

At the conclusion of day 1 I would have to say that honors were even as England fought back in the last 6 overs to pick up the 2 key wickets.

Key highlights during the day were:

• Holly Ferling in her first over just after an hour of play took the crucial wicket of Heather Knight. This fired up the Southern Stars, and saw them pick up another 2 wickets as England lost 3 for 4 runs.

• The experience of Lydia Greenway and Arran Brindle stopped the flow of wickets as they put on 64 runs to get take England from 3-32 to 4-96.

• Nat Sciver walked to the crease and showed everyone why she is being touted as the next best thing for England. She combined with Brindle to put on another 50 plus run partnership.

• Rene Farrell, returning to the Southern Stars after a 3-year hiatus, picked up the key wicket of Brindle on the last ball before tea. This swung momentum to the Southern Stars as they finished off the last 5 wickets for 47 runs.

• The Southern Stars had 6 overs to contend with before the end of the days play and Anya Shrubsole brought England right back into the game by picking up the key wickets of Villani and Meg Lanning.

Day 2 Key Moments:

• The first session went to England as Kate Cross picked up her first Test wicket by dismissing Jessica Cameron for 5 and Alex Blackwell for a duck. Soon after Brunt picked up Sarah Elliott to have Australia 5-37.

• Jodie Fields played a crucial role in a counter punch by taking on the English bowlers, with Brunt being hit for four 4’s in one over. It must have unsettled her as she was soon taken off for bowling 2 dangerous deliveries and not allowed to return for the rest of the innings.

• The pitch seemed to flatten out and despite Cross picking up her third wicket of Fields for 43, Perry and Osborne chipped away slowly at the deficit to put on the highest partnership so far in the match of 85 runs.

• England could have been in the box seat when Greenway put down Osborne on 2 with the score 102. Osborne ensured that England paid for that as she went on to score a patient 40 vital runs to ensure Australia passed England’s total, eventually being bowled out for 207 with a lead of 6 runs.

• Charlotte Edwards injured her knee attempting to field a ball and was off the field for the most of the afternoon, meaning that the Match Referee deemed that she would be unable to bat until No. 7.

• With a new England opening pair coming out to face a few uncomfortable overs it was too much with Farrell picking up 2 wickets and Perry 1 wicket to have England in a precarious position of 3-18 at close of play with an overall lead of 12 runs.

Performers so far:
• Arran Brindle 68
• Nat Sciver 49 on debut
• Rene Farrell 3-41 off 18.1 overs in the 1st innings
• Ellyse Perry 3-41 off 22 overs & 71 runs to rescue Australia’s Innings
• Jodie Field’s 43 runs at an impressive rate strike rate of 60.56 compared to everyone else
• Anya Shrubsole 4-51 off 19 over and the key wickets late on Day 1
• Kate Cross 3-35 off 18 overs on debut