Source: Bruce Perkins

England v Australia – Calamity, calamity!

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This was a horrible day at Canterbury for England women’s cricketers.

Best not to repeat what passing spectators said about events after the break.

They came into the third of the three one-dayers 2-0 down and with Alyssa Healy’s prediction of an Australian whitewash hanging round their necks. Katherine Brunt hadn’t recovered from her ankle injury, so Danni Wyatt kept her place in the eleven.

Heather Knight won the toss and decided to field. All sorts of reasons could be offered for that decision.

Anya Shrubsole had Nicole Bolton (4) lbw early on, but after that it was a case of chase the ball, as Healy and Meg Lanning hit it to all parts. Time and again fielders sprinted and dived but failed to stop the ball running to the boundary.  The score mounted as the field spread wider.

In Brunt’s absence, Nat Sciver had to resume her role as third seamer, It’s greatly to her credit that she took the wickets of both Healy (68) and Lanning (69) plus Ellyse Perry (7), but they came at a cost. The four other mainline bowlers all took a wicket, but only Shrubsole kept the run-rate below 5 per over.

The rest of the innings wasn’t all-powerful, but batters 5 to 9 hit eight 4s and one 6 to push the total to a convincing 269-7.

What happened in the second innings showed that Healy’s dire prediction was not based on pure Oz bragging.

Amy Jones is now branded with the mark ‘Perry’s rabbit’. She was caught in her headlights second ball as a misjudged shot lobbed helplessly into mid-on’s hands.

Far worse was to follow. The local hero, Tammy Beaumont lasted seven balls, then was trapped in front. Sarah Taylor nicked off first ball, Sciver lasted five balls and the skipper reached 5 in 18 deliveries before she followed the mournful path back to the pavilion. Wyatt faced four balls before she was she too was decreed lbw, and England were beyond redemption at 21-6.

Of those six wickets Megan Schutt had claimed one. It was Perry’s day. Her bowling was outstanding. Half way through her approach it becomes springy, and she delivers the ball in the perfect position for maximum results.

Somehow the lower order managed to add a further 54 runs, but nobody reached a score than No 9 Laura Marsh’s 21. All out 75.

Perry completed an utterly remarkable analysis of 10-4-22-7. She bowled 60 deliveries. England scored off 11 of them. This was an abject display in front of a large crowd, hoping desperately for an upturn in England’s fortunes. It was not to be.

Then come the serious questions. Why this dreadful collapse? Was it entirely the fault of the world’s best bowler? Do the England players have mental reservations about their ability to overcome Aussie supremacy?

After the two losses at Leicester, what sorts of discussions took place? What steps did Mark Robinson and his staff take to alter the psychological approach of their players?

The ECB website headlined the second loss at Leicester with the words: ‘England falter’. After this crushing defeat it was ‘England undone’. How are these shoelaces going to be done up again?

Alongside these events, England’s Academy side has been competing against Australia A. The results there don’t reveal any stand-out performance that demands immediate promotion to the elite side. Six of that current reserve side have already appeared in England colours.

There is now a pause of eleven days before the test begins at Taunton. Minds will need be to be cleared.

Result: Australia beat England by 194 runs
Australia 269-7
England 75 (Perry 7-22)

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