Date: 7 July 2019
Venue: St. Lawrence Ground, Canterbury
Australia went 2-0 up, thus sealing the ODI leg of the multi-format Ashes series, after beating the hosts by four wickets in the second ODI in Leicester. The action now shifts to the St Lawrence Ground in Canterbury. Meg Lanning’s team has taken a 4-0 lead in the series, but all is not lost for England.
In 2017, they found themselves in a similar position, but managed to win the 3rd ODI and fight their way back to level the series at 8-8. The question is, can they repeat that feat?
England can take heart from the fact that in both previous games their bowlers did very well– picking up early wickets and drying up the runs in the middle overs. They showed a lot of fight and character to take the match as deep as possible. The spin twins, Laura Marsh and Sophie Ecclestone, bowled tight lines. The former was particularly good in the second ODI. She picked up one wicket and conceded only 38 runs in her 10 overs. Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Burnt, the two senior pace bowlers, were outstanding as well. The pair have taken six wickets in the ODI series so far.
It is on the batting front that England have struggled through the series. However, in match two Tammy Beaumont scored a brilliant 114 on slow surface, leading the way for the home team. She got some support from Daniele Wyatt who scored 25, but the rest of the line-up struggled. They will be hoping to turn things around.
For Australia, different people have put their hand up at different points. Delissa Kimmince starred with the ball, taking her maiden five-wicket haul, before Ellyse Perry starred with the bat scoring 62 in the previous match. Jess Jonassen and Beth Mooney have also made crucial contributions through the first two matches.
“I think the really cool thing about our group— we’ve spoken about this a lot in the last 18 months— is just the fact that we’ve got so many different people contributing at so many different times,” said Perry, in an interaction with the media on Saturday (July 7)
Australia too, like their counterparts, have struggled with the bat. Their top order is searching for runs, but Matthew Mott, their head coach, is confident of a batting turnaround. The lower-order has been Australia’s saving grace. They have been incredibly composed in two tense chases, making sure to get the team over the line. On both occasions, Jonassen has played a central role.
Their bowling has been their strong suit. Megan Schutt and Perry have managed to take early wickets with the new ball, and the spin trio of Jonnasen, Ashleigh Gardner and Georgia Wareham have kept the run rate in check.
“It’s a really nice start for us I think in terms of a couple of really good outcomes to start off the tour,” said the allrounder. “It couldn’t have gone much better for us. I think probably both teams feel like they have got better cricket in them especially from a batting point of view. But yeah, for us to be successful in those first two matches is really nice, and a really great way to start.”
As Mott mentioned in his press conference after the previous match, Australia will be keen to get another win under their belt and extend their lead in the series. They don’t want to give England a sniff.
“In the past couple of series we have probably let England back in in the last ODI match, and I think we are really keen not to do that this time,” Perry added. “I know they would be really keen to get one back. This match is a really important one in terms of the series going forward. Obviously the Test match as well being 4 points. But I think in terms of just keeping momentum, this match tomorrow is really key.”
A tight game is on the cards.
It’s a rare sign that the Australian skipper has not made any significant contribution with the bat. She has only managed a total of 34 runs in two matches and will be raring to turn her form around. Lanning scored 96 in the warm-up fixture against England Academy preceding the tournament, but has failed to make an impact in the series so far. Lanning would hope to end the one-day leg of the tour on a high.
In the second ODI, Beaumont notched up her sixth ODI century. She read the conditions beautifully and constructed her innings well. She would love to carry that form into Canterbury, and this time take her team to victory. As the opener mentioned after play on Thursday, she will be looking to bat deeper and make sure England get to a good score. She will certainly have good memories of the ground- the last time Beaumont played in Canterbury she scored a century (105) against South Africa in June 2018. Can she make it two in a row?
The match on Sunday is scheduled as a day game, so an early start may help the bowlers. In the last game at this venue between England and South Africa the latter posted a total of 232 which was chased down comfortably by England.
Australia too will have fond memories of the ground, having registered their last Test match victory over England four years ago at this very ground. Jonassen (99 and 54) and Perry (match figures of 9 for 70) played key roles in that game.
Amy Jones, Tammy Beaumont, Sarah Taylor (wk), Nat Sciver, Heather Knight (c), Fran Wilson, Katherine Brunt, Anya Shrubsole, Kate Cross, Laura Marsh, Sophie Ecclestone
Nicole Bolton, Alyssa Healy (wk), Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Rachael Haynes, Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Georgia Wareham, Megan Schutt