After losing the T20I and ODI series, Australia skipper Healy admits winning feels “a little dirty.”.
Kate Cross was England’s hero on that tour, with a match haul of 6 for 70 crucial in sealing England’s victory in the Perth Test.
Heather Knight, England’s captain, lauded her team’s success in taking two white-ball trophies from double World Champions Australia, despite the fact that the overall Women’s Ashes trophy slipped through their grasp due to their loss in the one-off Test match at the start of the series—an outcome that teammate Kate Cross admitted “didn’t quite feel fair.”
England’s 89-run defeat in the Trent Bridge Test cost them four points right at the start of the multi-format competition, meaning they needed to win five of the six white-ball matches to reclaim the Ashes for the first time since 2015.
That prospect looked bleak when they were beaten by four wickets off the penultimate ball of the first T20I at Edgbaston, but England fought back to win the next two T20Is and hand Australia its first bilateral series defeat since 2016–17. When England tied the series at six apiece in the first ODI at Bristol, thanks to a record-breaking run chase led by Knight’s unbeaten 75, hope seemed to spring eternal. However, Australia found just enough resolve to put the Ashes out of reach with a three-run win at the Ageas Bowl, despite a heroic unbeaten century from Nat Sciver-Brunt.
Nonetheless, after a bus ride to Taunton and a night to reflect on their missed opportunity, England emerged with renewed resolve to finish the campaign on a high note, and did so by inflicting a 69-run defeat on Australia in the final ODI—Australia’s heaviest defeat by runs since their tour of New Zealand in 2008.
“I am hugely pleased; it was a draw [in the points competition], and we’ve got two trophies against the world champions, and that is hugely special,” Knight remarked following the match.
“It was a pretty quiet bus journey on the way here because there was a lot of emotion and disappointment that the Ashes had slipped away, but credit to the group and staff.” Today, we really showed up. We owed it to everyone to entertain and encourage the audience. I’m quite impressed with the girls’ performance.
“The fact that we came so close in the Test and first T20I gave us even more confidence.” It was only a matter of maintaining calm while realizing that we couldn’t do much because we were so close. We believed we had the talent to compete with this strong team. The crew deserves a lot of credit for keeping us going. The reversal has been quite astounding, and I believe there are many leaders in the group who deserve recognition.”
When asked if the points system needed to be changed because England won two series to Australia’s one, Knight noted that England had previously benefited from that anomaly when their victory in the Perth Test in 2013-14 (then worth six points) proved sufficient to retain the trophy that they had won the previous summer, despite Australia pulling off a sweep of the white-ball legs.
“I’m sure the scientists will tinker with it,” she said. “However, it is obviously more difficult to win when you haven’t previously held it.” I’m not sure if there might be an odd amount of points for something to prevent a draw.”
Cross was England’s hero on that tour, with a match haul of 6 for 70 crucial in sealing England’s victory in the Perth Test. And now, a decade later, she’s back in the middle of it, with a key match-winning cameo in the first ODI, followed by match-winning statistics of 3 for 48 at Taunton.
“I think winning the T20 series was the start of it,” Cross remarked. “We couldn’t reclaim the Ashes after the last game, but we knew the series was still in play.” “I’m really proud of the girls because it was our goal to come here today and win, to take the series 2-1.”
During Australia’s chase, England had to hold their nerve during an inopportune rain break, which resulted in a revised score of 269 in 44 overs. “There was a point where it could have gone either way, and we stuck with it, so I think we won it in that little moment just after the rain break,” she added.
“I think the fact that we’re at eight-all at the end doesn’t feel quite fair that it’s going back to Australia.” We’ve played some excellent cricket, going toe-to-toe with the best team in the world for the past five weeks. So, yeah, a lot of happy smiles over there, and I believe it’s well deserved.”
“It feels like a moral victory,” said Sciver-Brunt, who was crowned Player of the Series after her twin hundreds at the Ageas Bowl and Taunton. From where we were, we thought we could pull it off. The most recent game was as close as it has ever been. We’re delighted to have won the lottery.”
Australia’s captain, Alyssa Healy, acknowledged that retaining the Ashes would be fraught with emotion.
“Yeah, we can tuck that little one away in the changing room and know we got that done,” she admitted, “but it’s a little bittersweet.” “It feels a little dirty, but we got the result we wanted.” “I don’t think the gap has been as large as everyone has claimed.”
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