There aren’t many women’s Test matches at all. This means that the worst thing to produce when there is one would be a one-sided boreathon. The 2022 Ashes Test was most definitely not that. It served up almost as many plot twists as Wild Things (a film that averages one double-cross every nine minutes according to The Ringer.)
This article follows one lamenting the impossible workload inflicted on the best England men’s cricketers, so let’s quickly contextualise the rarity of women’s Tests before we get into things properly.
Broadcaster Isabelle Westbury has pointed out that there are currently no women’s Test matches on any confirmed schedule, anywhere, for any nation.
Midway through the Test, her sometime colleague Dan Norcross highlighted how Heather Knight has been England captain for five and a half years and yet was playing just her ninth Test, 11 years after her debut.
So when Australia made 337-9 batting first, we did not have a jeffing clue whether that was a good score or not. 337 is a pretty indeterminate score at the best of times, let alone when it drops into the world in the first innings of a Test when the players involved haven’t really played many international two-innings matches before.
The declaration was a hint, we suppose, and England duly turned it into a good score by slumping to 169-8. Knight was having none of it though. She made 168 not out and turned that 169-8 into 297 all out. Katherine Brunt then followed up her first innings 5-60 with a couple of immediate wickets and day three ended with Australia 12-2.
At this point England were, if not obviously on top scorecard-wise, then dominant in how-does-the-game-feel-right-now terms. But day four was the final day and Australia ambivalently scuffled their way to a position where they were the only team that could win the match.
OR WERE THEY?
Set a 257-run target in 48 overs, England thought, “Right, let’s just make those runs – we have Heather Knight, after all.”
Soon enough they were 218-3 and needed only 45 runs from 60 balls.
Then they lost six wickets.
Then number 11 Kate Cross blocked out the final over for a draw.
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