England were well placed at 140 for 3 in 30 overs in the second ODI of the multi-format Ashes series against Australia in Leicester on Thursday (July 4). Up in the commentary box, Lydia Greenway was talking about ‘doubling the score.’ According to the experts, England were certainly headed for a total in excess of 260.
Over the course of the next 17.4 overs, the hosts lost seven wickets for 77 runs. They were bowled out for 217.
“Every time someone came in, we built a good little start and then a wicket would fall,” said Tammy Beaumont, after England succumbed to another disappointing loss. “That’s the difficult thing on a pitch like that— you need two batters to get in and go on. Every time we rebuilt, we lose that wicket. Danielle Wyatt played a little gem of an innings there coming in at the end, but unfortunately couldn’t kick on. That’s probably what we are going to assess and come back on Sunday and hopefully play better cricket.”
Beaumont played a lone hand in on Thursday, notching up her sixth ODI century and first in an Ashes series. Her run-a-ball 114 set the tone for England, but she didn’t receive any support from the rest of the line-up. Wyatt was England’s second highest scorer with 25.
“The wicket was hard work. I found it difficult to bat on it,” said Beaumont said. “People who came in found it difficult (to score). We definitely thought we were in the game— maybe,15-20 (runs) short. I certainly thought we had a chance if we bowled well. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.”
Having lost the wicket of Amy Jones in the second over of the day, Beaumont and Heather Knight— promoted to no.3 in the absence of Sarah Taylor— stitched together a 65 run-stand to give the innings some stability. It would be the hosts’ only half-century partnership of the day.
In contrast, Australia registered two such partnerships in their four-wicket win. The first was between Ellyse Perry and Rachel Haynes, and the second, an unbeaten 60-run stand between Beth Mooney and Jess Jonassen. Perry, who top scored with 62, was well supported by Haynes (30), Mooney (43*) and Jonassen (31*), all of whom made important contributions to the chase.
Defending a below-par score, the England bowlers showed lot of character at the start. They bowled with great discipline, attacked the stumps, used their changes of pace and frustrated the Australians into making mistakes. They were right in the game until that seventh wicket pasrtnership between the two left-handers.
“We showed a lot of character and fight, and that’s certainly one thing that we pride ourselves on in this team. We never give-up on ourselves, so it was kind of great to get a couple of (early) wickets. Katherine getting the key wicket of Meg Lanning was another (big moment).”
With Australia having extended their lead to four points now, England must find a way to stop the them from running away with Ashes. There are still 12 points up for grabs and Beaumont is confident that her team can bounce back.
“It’s not the ideal start being 4-0 down, but I think we are not far away. We have not had a perfect performance. We have not had big partnerships to change the game and probably there have been good spells with the ball, but also a couple of spells where we just let the pressure go.”
If England are looking for inspiration heading into the final ODI in Canterbury on Sunday (July 7), they need not look further than Beaumont’s century. She backed her strengths, took the attack to the opposition, and when they eased up, she simply batted in cruise control. It was not a typical, free-flowing innings that one would associate with Beaumont. It was— for the lack of a better word— a scrap: something that England need to do to keep the series alive.