World Champion England Women’s team takes on the Aussies for the prestigious Ashes starting next week
The history of England Women VS Australia Women dates back to 1934-35 season when England took on Australia in Australia but the term ‘Ashes’ was introduced in women rivalry on July 20, 1998 in Harris Garden inside Lord’s when a bat signed by the two competing captains, a copy of the Women’s Cricket Association’s (WCA) constitution and the rulebook were burnt in a wok, with the Ashes of the items placed on a wooden ball trophy made of a 300-year-old Yew tree. This ceremony turned out to be the biggest event in Women’s cricketing history.
Norma Izard, the outgoing President of the WCA while talking about the need for having a Women’s Trophy recalls, “I was fed up, the Australians kept on saying, ‘Why don’t we have a trophy?’ But they never did anything about it. So I thought, ‘Well, I’ll do it then!’ I thought, ‘Why shouldn’t we do the same as the men? They’ve got Ashes, so we’ll have some Ashes!’ We can’t do it exactly the same, but we had won the World Cup in 1993 here in England, and we were trying to get an equal position in cricket. I talked about it with the WCA committee, and they agreed it would be a good idea to create some ashes by burning a bat.”
The first Ashes series ended in a draw with both the teams piling up runs on the scoreboard in the first match at Guildford. In reply to England 414 runs in the first innings, Australia set a world record of 569 runs for 6 declared with a double-century from Joanne Broadbent. The match ended in a draw as expected. The second match at Harrogate was also a run fest With England Jan Brittin scoring 167 runs with a broken and dislocated finger that she suffered during the third ODI. England was outplayed by the Australian side in the third test in Worcester but it was unlucky for the Aussie team that the third day’s play was called off due to heavy rain leaving behind very little time for Fitzpatrick & Co to bowl England out for the second time.
Since 1934-35, both the teams have locked horns for 21 times with Australia leading the race with eight series win compared to English’s six and the rest were settled in a draw. This is the fourth time that Ashes is being contested across all the formats using a point system. While England has won the first two comprehensively, Australia is the reigning Ashes champion after a 10-6 victory in 2015. The series will see three ODI’s and T20’s each with a lone day-night test match which is the first pink ball match in women’s cricket. Two points will be awarded for winning the T20’s and ODI while fourth points will be given for a test win and two points each for a draw.
It will be an intensely fought battle between both the teams where England will look to continue their dominance after the World Cup win against India earlier this year, whereas Australia will look to regain the no 1 position from the current World champions. It will be a test of nerve for both the captains Rachael Haynes and Heather Knight as it will be their first Ashes assignment as captains. Haynes, who took over from Meg Lanning after she suffered an injury led Australia in two matches in Women’s World cup will be once again tested in the upcoming Ashes.
The fight between openers of both the team will be an intriguing one as all the batters are in red-hot form scoring heavily in the recently concluded World cup. While Beaumont was adjudged the player of the tournament scoring 410 runs in 9 matches with an average of 45.55. At no 3 Sarah Taylor is also an important member, who can take the game away from the opponent sing-handedly. He also had a fair show in the World cup scoring 396 runs. Australia also possesses two talented batswomen in the form of Elyse Villani and Nicole Bolton at the top of the order to power the ball around the park and give a strong reply to the English bowlers.
The battle between the two all-rounders Ellyse Perry and Natalie Sciver will be a treat to watch for the viewers as these two players will be a key component for their individual team to steer the game in their favors. Ellyse Perry had a great World Cup for the Aussies scoring 406 runs and taking nine wickets but unfortunately, she couldn’t take her team to the finals while Sciver was exceptional with both bat and ball in England’s win at the Lord’s against India.
England’s main strength lies in their bowling with Anya Shrubsole leading the pace battery alongside Katherine Brunt and spinner Sophie Ecclestone. Anya was the main player behind England’s victory taking six wickets for 46 runs to run down through India’s batting order. “England’s best chance of winning this series is through their bowling attack – Anya Shrubsole, Katherine Brunt, and their young spinner Sophie Ecclestone are going to be crucial to England regaining the Ashes,” former England captain Charlotte Edwards was heard saying. Megan Schutt will lead the attack for the Australia team alongside Perry and Lauren Cheatle who returns to the squad after six months pertaining to injury.
Keeping in mind the dept this England Women’s team poses both in batting and bowling department, the English girls have a high chance of winning back the Ashes Trophy. However, Australia will leave no stones unturned to defend their title that they won two years back.
ODI squad: Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (c), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.
Test squad: Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (c), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.
Heather Knight (C), Sarah Taylor (WK), Anya Shrubsole, Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Jenny Gunn, Georgia Elwiss, Ales Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Fran Wilson, Danny Watt, Lauren Winfield.
October 22 – 1st ODI, Brisbane
October 26 – 2nd ODI, Coffs Harbour
October 29 – 3rd ODI, Coffs Harbour
November 9-12 – only Test, North Sydney Oval (D/N )
November 17 – 1st T20, North Sydney Oval
November 19 – 2nd T20, Canberra
November 21 – 3rd T20, Canberra