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The Ashes Test – Fifth and Last Day

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Trent Bridge

The call for 5-day tests was justified. This was a great game of cricket.

Whatever England achieved – and it was plenty – the Australians found an answer, as they nearly always do.

The final turning point came late yesterday, when the heart of England’s batting was shredded.

That third Innings

After a confident start, fifty on the board in no time – England lost wickets far too quickly. The balloon burst, and we were looking to England’s most aggressively minded batter, Danni Wyatt, to score the bulk of the 152 runs still needed, and take the bulk of the strike.

That is not the reason she was given a test cap for the first time at the age of 32.

In essence it meant she couldn’t afford to take a chance, but that ran against both her own instincts (240 appearances in short-form cricket) and the more attacking approach of the new coach, Jon Lewis.

The Fifth Day

In the first over the third ball shot up, missed everything and ran for 4 byes. Needless to say, the perpetrator of this unplayable ball was Ash Gardner.

The other favoured bowler was Tahlia McGrath, who had managed to extract more swing from the Dukes ball than anybody.

That in itself is an indictment of the way English women’s cricket has developed over the past few years. The Dukes was the bread-and-butter ball for all English bowlers for many decades. They knew its secrets, they made it talk. These days the tepid white ball has replaced it, and it has cost England.

Healy set close catchers, but not a Carmody ‘umbrella’ field.

At 135-5 England reached beyond halfway to the target. The first lbw appeal came in the 31st over. No go.

Gardner made the first breakthrough straight after, getting Cross caught behind, her eighth wicket of the match. Next ball, Amy Jones’ first, she beat the bat. Four wickets left, England needing a mountainous 127 runs.

After a cautious start Jones struck a first boundary to bring up the 150. The next moment she launched a swing and miss. She gave Gardner her fifth wicket, a stumping. That was England’s last recognised batter gone all too quickly. 151-7.

Noon drinks: England 167-7. Still alive but with breathing difficulties; 101 runs short.

Wyatt’s maiden 50 comes up off 78 balls (5 fours).

England’s target drops below 100. Hope springs eternal – no, I’ve said that before.
Ecclestone falls lbw for 10; Gardner’s sixth wicket! She too takes a 10-fer. And she scored a useful 40.

Filer is beaten by a beauty. It clips the off bail. Gardner’s seventh.
The next moment Gardner takes her eighth; this time it’s England’s last hope, Wyatt (54). She’s the last lbw decision, one of four.

I remember watching Jim Laker taking all 10 against Australia (quite a few years ago). Ashleigh Gardner’s 8-66 must rank high alongside that unique off-spin achievement. The story goes that Laker dropped into a pub on his drive home. All the talk was about his achievement. Nobody recognised him.

Gardner is unlikely to remain so anonymous.


Australia 473 and 257
England 463 and 178
Australia win by 89 and take four points.

This means England need to take nine points from the remaining three ODIs and three T20s to regain the Ashes.


What might Charlie Dean have achieved in the third innings? Perhaps not the challenges Gardner posed, but a bowler capable of taking wickets when they were desperately needed.

I must dilate on England’s bowling selections at a later date. They weren’t right.


It was encouraging to see the A-team wrap up a 3-0 win over their counterparts in the third T20 at Loughborough.

Bryony Smith led the way again, while her Surrey team-mate, Alice Capsey, couldn’t prove she was unlucky to be omitted from the test side.

It was a welcome surprise to see England’s depth of talent outplaying Australia’s in the shortest form of the game. Now come three ODIs.

This was the Australia A squad on tour:

Maitlan Brown (NSW, Sydney CC)
Lauren Cheatle (NSW, Campbelltown Camden District CC)
Maddy Darke (WA, Subiaco-Floreat CC)
Nicole Faltum (VIC, Dandenong CC)
Tess Flintoff (VIC, Ringwood CC)
Heather Graham (TAS, Clarence District CC)
Charli Knott (QLD, University of Queensland CC)
Kate Peterson (SA, Glenelg CC)
Courtney Sippel (QLD, Gold Coast District CC)
Tayla Vlaeminck (VIC, Plenty Valley CC)
Courtney Webb (SA, Glenelg CC)
Amanda-Jade Wellington (SA, West Torrens CC)
Tahlia Wilson (NSW, St George-Sutherland CC)