Sophie Ecclestone picks 10 Wickets, Ashleigh Gardner dismantles England’s lineup in 2nd Innings

In a captivating turn of events, Ashleigh Gardner’s remarkable performance on the fourth evening of the Women’s Ashes Test at Trent Bridge has breathed new life into the contest, leaving England with a daunting task as they strive to achieve the highest successful run-chase in Women’s Test history. Sophie Ecclestone’s exceptional five-wicket haul earlier in the match had initially set up England for a thrilling final-day pursuit.

Sophie Ecclestone picks 10 Wickets, Ashleigh Gardner dismantles England's lineup in 2nd Innings. PC: Getty Images
Sophie Ecclestone picks 10 Wickets, Ashleigh Gardner dismantles England’s lineup in 2nd Innings. PC: Getty Images

Australia had posted a substantial lead, anchored by a 99-run opening partnership between Beth Mooney and Phoebe Litchfield, followed by a crucial 50-run stand between Mooney and Ellyse Perry. Alyssa Healy, finding form at the right time, added 59 runs for the eighth wicket with Alana King. Despite Ecclestone’s impressive figures of 5 for 63, Australia was eventually bowled out for 257 in their second innings, setting England a challenging target of 326 for victory.

England’s hopes were dealt with a blow when Ashleigh Gardner, Australia’s off-spinning allrounder, made a significant impact. Gardner dismissed Tammy Beaumont and Nat Sciver-Brunt in quick succession. Tahlia McGrath joined the party, dismissing Emma Lamb. Gardner then struck again, claiming the vital wicket of captain Heather Knight, leaving England struggling at 73 for 4. Sophia Dunkley and Danni Wyatt started to rebuild, but Kim Garth dismissed Dunkley before the close of play, leaving England with a challenging 152 runs to win and five wickets in hand.

England’s missed opportunities in the field added to their frustration as partnerships flourished for Australia. The visitors had built a substantial lead before Ecclestone’s exceptional bowling brought them back into contention. Her relentless toil saw her bowl 30.5 overs in the second innings, capturing five crucial wickets to complete a match haul of 10 for 192. Lauren Filer, the young quick, turned the tide in England’s favor momentarily with two quick wickets, removing Ellyse Perry and Tahlia McGrath.

England had a chance to dismiss Gardner early, but she was dropped at second slip by Kate Cross. Healy also survived a close call. The two batswomen gradually settled into their innings, with Healy reaching her fifty and showcasing a stunning off-drive to dispatch Filer for four. Ecclestone completed her five-wicket haul by trapping Darcie Brown LBW for a third-ball duck. With no result in a Women’s Test since 2015, this match has the potential to break the stalemate streak and provide a thrilling conclusion. England faces an uphill battle on the final day, requiring a record-breaking chase to secure victory.

Sports have always been a huge part of my life, and having played cricket professionally for my state team, I gained a deeper understanding of what it takes to succeed in the world of sports. With an eye for detail and passion for sports, I’m hoping to make a lasting impact in the sports industry.

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