After securing a 268-run target via Tammy Beaumont’s 208 and Sophie Ecclestone’s second five wicket haul of the match, England were, if not happy, then at least steely-eyed and up for a challenge going into their second innings. Then Ashleigh Gardner took 8-66.
Moeen’s Ali’s seeping spinning finger last week was a grisly reminder that Test matches are feats of endurance even for spinners.
Gardner got through 45 overs in this match – 11-and-a-bit T20 shifts – and finished with a 10-over spell on day five.
That was slightly less than Ecclestone got through in Australia’s first innings alone. Those 46.2 overs were then followed by another 30.5 in the second innings. You have to go back to Zimbabwe’s Ray Price against South Africa in 2001 to find the last time someone did more bowling in a Test (79 overs).
Gardner didn’t mind the workload. “It just shows having five days in the Test match to actually get a result is super-important,” she told Cricinfo, having experienced only draws in her three previous Tests.
England captain Heather Knight was happy to have a fifth day too, despite the result. “I’ve been quite vocal about having five days and I think today – and the whole five days, actually – showed why that was.”
She did have some sympathy for Ecclestone though. “I did wonder whether I was over-bowling her at one point, but she came back and again and again, and hardly bowled a loose ball all Test match. She’s pretty tired but she’s done an amazing job for the team. She’s really dug deep and done a real job for us.”
The win gives Australia four points. Another 12 are still up for grabs: two for each of the three T20s and the three ODIs.