Worrying signs for the England Women’s cricket team ahead of third ODI, as the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars bounce back to level the series.
England would of have been disappointed with their performance in Bristol a few days ago, seeing as they took the lead in the series after the first ODI in Taunton. The win was off the back of a wonderful display of batting from Natalie Sciver (66) and Lydia Greenway (53), though the English batters were unable to replicate their performances in Bristol.
Australia scored a respectable total of 259 after they were sent in under cloudy conditions. It would of been a record chase for England and they were certainly on track despite loosing their first wicket with the score on 92.
The English top-order had starts, but didn’t convert them into big scores. The middle order which stood up in the first ODI match, went missing at Bristol, as England lost their last nine wickets for 74 runs.
A 63 run victory to the Southern Stars, will start to send warning signs to the England camp on two fronts.
Firstly, Meg Lanning, Australia’s Captain and leading run scorers in the ICC Women’s Championship found the middle of the bat on a tame Bristol wicket. Having missed out in the first ODI, Lanning’s expectations of herself are simple, score runs and make sure they are big runs.
She certainly delivered when she smashed the ball to all parts of the ground on her way to her sixth ODI hundred from only 38 ODIs.
The worrying sign for England is that she looked comfortable against all bowlers. Lanning struck her trade mark blows through cover and danced down the wicket to the spinners, but as her confidence grew she began to move laterally around the crease, to ensure that she found the boundary regularly.
An amazing statistic has Lanning scoring a hundred every 6.33 innings and I dare say it won’t be the last time we see Lanning raising her bat during this Ashes series.
The only consolation for England was that Lanning gave a number of chances behind the wicket throughout her hundred, but this also brings me to my second warning sign for the red, blue and white.
Sarah Taylor, know for her prowess behind the stumps has struggled so far this series. Normally rock solid, I have seen on a number of occasions Taylor affecting amazing leg-side stumps or one-handed catches, however her performances so far has been disappointing.
The wicket-keeper is the nucleus to any side. They drive the level of enthusiasm and movement in the field, not only with their voice but more importantly by their work rate. If the keeper is able to makes things look neat and tidy out in the field and take those half chances, the effect on the rest of the team is something that all coaches want to be able to buy in bucket loads.
Unfortunately it rests solely on the shoulders of Taylor. Only she can turn around her form with the gloves. It may help like most all-rounders, if one skill set is performing, the other normally follows suit.
Taylor certainly has the ability to strangle the game away from her opposition with her elegant clips off her legs and her busy nature at the crease. Sadly for England, in the last two games she has had starts, going at a run a ball, but has somehow found ways to get herself out.
England’s last ODI series was against New Zealand in February this year, where she peeled off an unbeaten 89 and 93 to secure victory for the visiting team.
It is scores like those England will need from her, plus a polished performance behind the stumps if they are going to win this mini series with in a series tomorrow. Two points are up for grabs tomorrow in the Women’s Ashes as well as the ICC Women’s Championships before both teams have a two week break for the one and only Test match.
The only real question for tomorrow is will the rain stay away for this vital clash?