Charlotte Edwards backs England to win Test on Day 5

After the clamor for the revival of 5-day women’s Test matches, the agonizing three-decade-long wait finally came to an end on June 22, 2023. The captivating action at Trent Bridge between England and Australia has reached its exhilarating climax as the Test hangs delicately in near-balance, with Australia slightly ahead heading into the final day’s play. Former English skipper Charlotte Edwards expresses confidence in England’s ability to secure an extraordinary win.

Charlotte Edwards backs England to win Test on Day 5. PC: Getty Images
Charlotte Edwards backs England to win Test on Day 5. PC: Getty Images

Australia, batting first, had Ellyse Perry and Tahlia McGrath steady the ship after the side lost openers Phoebe Litchfield (23) and Beth Mooney (33). The pair of Perry and McGrath guided Australia past 200 with a 119-run stand, which concluded when McGrath departed on 61 (83). England had their moment to pick wickets in clusters and capitalized on dismissing Jess Jonassen (11), Alyssa Healy (0), and Perry (99), reducing Australia from 202/3 to 238/6.

Annabel Sutherland’s counterattack snatched the game away from England’s hands as she scored an unbeaten 137* from 184 balls, batting at number 8. Sutherland received support from Ashleigh Gardner (40) and the tailenders (47), contributing to Australia posting a mammoth first-innings total of 473. Sophie Ecclestone’s 5-fer and Lauren Filer’s debut heroics were the highlights of England’s bowling.

Australia initially took an early wicket but failed to capitalize on it as Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont set the tone for England with a solid 115-run partnership. After Knight’s dismissal for 57, Nat Sciver-Brunt prevented Australia from gaining an advantage, taking charge and delivering an impressive inning of 71(111) as England neared the 300-run mark. Sophia Dunkley departed cheaply for just 9 runs, however, Danni Wyatt, on debut, fought back with a quickfire 44 runs off 49 balls, while Beaumont continued to punish the Australian bowlers at the other end.

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With a total of 390 on the scoreboard, Wyatt eventually departed, and England’s lower-middle order and tailenders made brief contributions. Beaumont, who remained set and striking throughout, led England to a final total of 463. She was the last to depart, having scored an impressive 208 runs from 331 balls. The late introduction of Tahlia McGrath and Ashleigh Gardner proved fruitful for Australia, as they shared seven wickets between them.

Australia began their second innings with a 10-run lead, and this time their openers, Phoebe (46) and Mooney formed a solid 99-run partnership. However, just as Ellyse Perry seemed to be settling in, she was dismissed for 25, triggering an un-Australian collapse that saw the side, from a promising position of 149/2, slump to 198/7. In this dire situation, skipper Alyssa Healy stepped up and bailed her side out of trouble with an invaluable 50 off 62 balls as Australia finish with a total of 257 in the second innings. Once again, Sophie Ecclestone, led England’s bowling attack with a 5-fer, while Filer and Bell also chipped in with a couple of wickets each.

England’s chase of 267 got off to a promising start with a 55-run opening partnership. However, after Emma’s dismissal for 28, Beaumont (22) quickly followed. The situation worsened for England as Nat Sciver fell for a duck and Knight managed only 9 runs off 17 balls. The pressure mounted when Sophia Dunkley’s innings ended on 16 off 39 deliveries, leaving England 5 down for 110 runs. At the end of the day, England stood at 116/5, with Kate Cross (5*) and Danni Wyatt (20*) battling to survive. The target of victory still looms distant, with 153 runs required, while the threat of defeat lingers, with only five wickets remaining.

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Ahead of the final days play, Women’s Ashes winner, Charlotte Edwards, said, “England need to keep batting like they did in that final half hour and Crossy plays a vital role here. If Cross and Wyatt can get a 50 partnership to get to a hundred with Amy Jones in next, suddenly you can put some pressure on Australia.

“It’s going to be tough for them but they have got to have that belief and obviously there’s Sophie Ecclestone to come. They have incredible belief within their group that things will happen and I think that’s what great teams have.”

(Quotes sourced from Sky Sports)

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