England vs. Australia Women's Cricket: Ashes Are Now Home Side's to Lose
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With back-to-back ODI victories, England took both the lead and the momentum in the Ashes series with three Twenty20 matches to come.
The score is now 6-4 to the home side with six points up for grabs. Australia only need to draw the series to retain the Ashes, yet the skill with which England have fought back has forged within them the belief needed to finish off this contest.
It was present throughout the two recent victories, but most obvious in the second triumph. Sarah Taylor started it off with a ridiculous anticipatory catch behind the stumps as Jodie Fields tried to reverse sweep. Taylor then continued her revelatory performance with 64 from 59 balls in a record second-wicket stand of 126 with Heather Knight.
That partnership sealed the game for England, but it was the way they went about it that suggested they should be favourites in this series.
In a rain-affected match, the reduction in overs often breeds poor shot selection. Players look for the big sixes and lofted drives to the boundary in order to dominate the bowlers. This increases the likelihood of top edges and general errors in technique.
While Knight and Taylor went for their shots, they did so in a manner that mirrored Ian Bell's approach to run-getting this summer.
Taylor, in particular, played the ball late and found gaps in the field, looking to keep the scoreboard moving. She and Knight ran hard between the wickets, regularly catching the Australians on the back foot to gain extra ones and twos.
It was an elegant display that had more in common with limited-overs games in the '90s than the more boisterous contests that populate the current cricket culture. Good running, classy stroke play and watching the ball was the key, using the pace of the bowling to split the field and putting the bad balls away.
Who will win the Ashes?
In essence, they just looked like they wanted it more, which bodes well for the upcoming T20 contests. With captain Charlotte Edwards contributing her own half century in the series-squaring victory in Hove, England's batting order looks to be finding some form at the right time.
The dispiriting batting collapse at Lord's looks to have been banished completely from their minds, while the emphatic nature of the subsequent victories—51 runs and five wickets, respectively—drags the momentum back to the home side.
Don't back on them letting it go. As Taylor showed, this team isn't dropping much right now.
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