New Zealand vs West Indies – T20I series preview

Following on from an increasingly uneven series of ODIs that resulted in a 3-0 win for New Zealand, the five match T20I series should be a more competitive affair.

New Zealand and the West Indies have two of the strongest T20I records in the post-WBBL era (2016- present).WT20I winloss 2016-13 Mar 2018

West Indies have never won a T20I (or any other international match) in New Zealand, but the 2016 World T20 Champions begin the series on a run of nine consecutive wins, the 3rd longest such run in women’s T20Is.  New Zealand have won their last six matches, their second longest T20I winning streak.

Neither team were troubled by their most recent T20I series, against the 7th & 8th ranked sides in the world, towards the end of last year:

The West Indies brushed aside Sri Lanka 3-0 in a series of T20Is at Coolidge in October.  Legspinner Afy Fletcher took her career best figures (5-13) in the 2nd match of the series and Deandra Dottin’s 112 in the 3rd match made her the first woman to score two T20I centuries.

New Zealand whitewashed Pakistan 4-0 at Sharjah in November, having made heavy work of the preceding ODI series.  Sophie Devine (158) and Suzie Bates (123) dominated the series run-scoring charts, while medium-pacer Hannah Rowe took the most wickets (6), despite only playing two games.


West Indies captain, Stafanie Taylor is the highest run scorer in T20Is since the start of 2016 (600 runs; ave 42.85; SR 104.52) and her opposite number, Suzie Bates is 3rd (534 runs; ave 35.60; SR 107.22).

Both Taylor (2,474) and Bates (2,337) are within touching distance of Charlotte Edwards’ T20I career runs record (2,605).  Deandra Dottin needs 41 more to become the 5th woman to bring up 2,000 T20I runs.

Dottin and Sophie Devine remain among the most devastating six hitters in world cricket.

T20I balls faced per six since start of 2016 (5+ sixes hit):
10.64 Chloe Tryon SA (11 sixes)
18.27 Sophie Devine NZ (11)
20.50 Lizelle Lee SA (14)
23.68 Harmanpreet Kaur IND (19)
26.42 Deandra Dottin WI (12)

Average rate of balls faced per T20I  six since the start of 2016: 74.58

Devine (147.26) and Dottin (131.86) are also 3rd and 5th respectively in terms of T20I strike rate (100+ balls faced) since the start of 2016.  The average batting SR since the start of 2016 is 98.28.

West Indies average the most runs per wicket (24.93) at the 2nd highest run rate (6.76 rpo) among batting sides since the start of 2016.  The average run rate for the period is 6.22 rpo.

While both teams have their share of powerful batters, they also stand out with the ball.  New Zealand (14.02 at 5.56 rpo) and West Indies (16.62 at 5.86 rpo) are respectively 1st & 2nd in terms of both fewest runs conceded per wicket, and the best overall economy rate as bowling sides since the start of 2016.

New Zealand’s squad contains 3 of the 5 most economical bowlers in T20Is (100+ balls bowled) since the start of 2016, in legspinner Amelia Kerr (4.15 rpo) and pace bowlers Holly Huddlestone (4.42) and Lea Tahuhu (4.75).  The average ER for the period is 6.11 rpo.

New Zealand’s Leigh Kasperek (12.27) and Sophie Devine (13.58) feature at 2nd & 3rd in the bowling averages (10+ wickets taken since the start of 2016), closely followed by West Indies’ Afy Fletcher (13.83), Hayley Matthews (14.35) and Deandra Dottin (14.56) in 4th, 5th & 6th.


West Indies ‘big three’ (Stafanie Taylor, Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews) dominate the ICC’s player rankings.  Taylor and Matthews are ranked #1 in batting and bowling respectively, while Matthews, Taylor and Dottin together account for the top 3 spots in the T20I all-rounder rankings.

There may be some concern that none of those three had vintage years with the bat in the most recent WBBL season.  Matthews, Taylor and Dottin didn’t make a half-century between them in WBBL03 and they all finished the season with batting strike rates below the season average (104.88).

Several New Zealand players involved in WBBL03 on the other hand, had great success.  Suzie Bates (5th with 434 runs) Amy Satterthwaite (8th, 368) and Sophie Devine (9th, 355) all finished among the top 10 run-scorers, and all three had above average strike rates.  Devine’s 17 sixes took her WBBL career tally to 40, the highest for any player.  Bates’ 964 WBBL career runs are the most by an overseas player and 10th most overall.

NZ&WI in WBBL03 batting

New Zealanders have been among the most successful overseas batters in the WBBL. Satterthwaite has the 11th most career runs (929), former White Fern, Sara McGlashan is 12th (854), Devine 13th (849), Stafanie Taylor is the highest ranked West Indian in 14th (829), and Rachel Priest is 15th (776).

Wicketkeeper Priest can count herself unlucky that she has recently fallen out of favour for international selection.  Priest finished WBBL03 with her best runs total for a WBBL season (264), and also had the highest batting strike rate of any New Zealand players involved in the tournament this season (118.92).  Priest also topped the charts for runs, strike rate, boundaries and fifties in the KSL in England in 2017, and made the most keeping dismissals in New Zealand’s 2017/18 domestic T20 competition, despite only playing six matches.

Sophie Devine had a stellar season with the ball in WBBL03, finishing as Adelaide Strikers’ equal highest wicket taker.  Devine’s 17 wickets were the 4th most taken in WBBL03.  Lea Tahuhu was Melbourne Renegades’ top wicket taker (16) and 8th overall for the season.  Her Renegades teammate, Hayley Jensen took 15 wickets, resulting in an international recall.  Their captain, Amy Satterthwaite’s 11 wickets combined with her 368 runs earned her player of the tournament.

NZ&WI in WBBL03 bowling

Stafanie Taylor had another good season with the ball for Sydney Thunder (15 wickets), mitigating for her disappointing run with the bat.  Her 4-15 vs Hobart Hurricanes were the 3rd best bowling figures in WBBL03.  Deandra Dottin was solid, if not particularly prolific with the ball for Brisbane Heat, while Hayley Matthews had a difficult season for last-placed Hobart Hurricanes, though she did improve as the season progressed.


Women’s T20I series – New Zealand vs West Indies

Overall record
Matches: 14
New Zealand wins: 8
West Indies wins: 4
Ties: 1
n/r: 1

Most recent results:
NZ won by 32 runs at Queen’s Park, Invercargill, 1 March 2014
NZ won by 24 runs at Queen’s Park, Invercargill, 5 March 2014
NZ won by 8 wickets at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui, 8 March 2014
NZ won by 34 runs at Bay Oval No 2, Mount Maunganui, 9 March 2014
NZ won by 7 wickets at Arnos Vale, Kingstown, 23 Sep 2014
WI won by 7 wickets at Arnos Vale, Kingstown, 25 Sep 2014
Match tied at Arnos Vale, Kingstown, 27 Sep 2014
WI won by 6 runs at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, 31 March 2016 (World T20)


FIXTURES

14th March – 1st T20I at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
16th March – 2nd T20I at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
20th March – 3rd T20I at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth
22nd March – 4th T20I at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth
25th March – 5th T20I at Seddon Park, Hamilton


SQUADS

New Zealand: Suzie Bates (c), Amy Satterthwaite (vc), Sophie Devine, Natalie Dodd, Maddy Green, Kate Heffernan, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu

West Indies: Stafanie Taylor (c), Anisa Mohammed (vc), Merissa Aguilleira, Reniece Boyce, Shamilia Connell, Britney Cooper, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Tremayne Smart

 

 

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ICC Women’s Championship preview – India vs Australia

Both Australia and India sit on 4 points from 3 games after 2-1 series wins in their opening round of ICC Women’s Championship fixtures. The run rates for Australia’s home series vs England (5.19 rpo) and India’s series in South Africa (4.55 rpo) set the record for bilateral series involving those particular combinations of opponents.  There’s no reason to think this series won’t challenge the combined 4.89 rpo that Australia and India scored at when the Indians toured Australia in 2016.

Australia come into the series on the back of ten bilateral ODI series wins in a row (which no doubt makes their World Cup campaign, between the 9th & 10th series wins, sting a little more).  Against India, Australia have won all six previous bilateral ODI series contested since 1984.

Bilateral ODI series results between India & Australia:
AUS 4-0 IND, 1984 in India
AUS 4-3 IND, 2004 in India
AUS 3-0 IND, 2006 in Australia
AUS 5-0 IND, 2008 in Australia
AUS 3-0 IND, 2012 in India
AUS 2-1 IND, 2016 in Australia

The overall record between the two sides currently stands at 34-9 to Australia, but India have recorded a couple of important victories in recent years.

Last 5 IND/AUS ODIs:
Australia won by 101 runs at Manuka Oval, Canberra, 2 Feb 2016
Australia won 6 wickets at Bellerive Oval, Hobart, 5 Feb 2016
India won by 5 wickets at Bellerive Oval, Hobart, 7 Feb 2016
Australia won by 8 wickets at County Ground, Bristol (World Cup), 12 Jul 2017
India won by 36 runs at County Ground Derby, (World Cup semi-final), 20 Jul 2017

First, India ended a run of six consecutive ODI losses against Australia with a win at Hobart in February 2016.  At the time, this was the highest target India had successfully chased in an ODI (232).  India’s timid display at Bristol in the group stage of the 2017 World Cup suggested Australia still had a significant upper hand in the rivalry, but those thoughts were allayed after the extraordinary semi-final at Derby on 20th July.

Australia’s bowlers had no answer to Hamranpreet Kaur’s storming innings of 171* (115), which took India to the highest ever World Cup total vs Australia 281/4 (despite the match being reduced to 42 overs).

Australia’s last international match in India was their loss to the West Indies in the final of the World T20 on 3rd April 2016.  Their last ODI on Indian soil was their win against the same opponents in the 2013 World Cup final at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, now over five years ago.  That match was marked by one of the great displays of all-round skill and fortitude from Ellyse Perry, battling through an ankle injury.

Perry’s unbeaten fifty partnership for the eighth wicket with captain Jodie Fields took Australia to the highest ever total in a World Cup final, and her opening three overs (3-2-2-3) derailed the West Indian chase before it even had a chance to get going.  Perry’s exceptional final figures of 10-3-19-3 remain the most economical 10 overs bowled in a World Cup knock-out match this century.

The last time India played Australia in a home ODI was 11 months earlier, for a series in March 2012.  The 2nd match of that series was notable for being the last time Australia posted 300 in an ODI.  In the intervening period, Australia have repeatedly expressed a desire to take their scoring to a new level.

Australia remain the most consistent side in terms of 250+ totals (once every 1.93 innings since the start of 2016, the next best is England at once every 3 innings, and the ODI average is 4.57. India are third with a rate of a 250+ total once every 3.56 innings) but have seen several other sides break 300 since they last did.  Australia’s 296/6 in the 2nd Ashes ODI in October was their highest total since the 2012 India series.

300+ ODI totals since Australia last made 300:
4 England; New Zealand
3 South Africa
2 India
1 West Indies


That 2nd ODI on 14th March 2012 also featured another stellar bowling performance from Perry.  Her ODI career best 8.1-3-19-5 are the best ODI figures against India on home soil.

Since that 2013 World Cup ankle injury however, Perry has never quite been as fast or as threatening.  Her heroic World Cup final effort was arguably the last great spell of ODI bowling in her career (Perry was excellent with the ball in the Ashes Tests at Perth in 2014 and Canterbury in 2015).

Perry has of course more than made up for diminished returns with the ball by embarking on an astonishing run of scores with the bat.

Ellyse Perry all-round stats up to & after her last ODI in India (2013 WC final):

Ellyse Perry all-round pre post 2013 WCa.png

When she last played an ODI in India, Perry was one of the world’s great fast bowlers.  She returns to ODI cricket in India as the one of the most consistent batters in World cricket.

In the 2013 World Cup final, Perry came in at #9 and had batted above #7 just once in her 33 previous ODI innings.  In her 38 innings since, Perry has never batted  below #6 and has scored the 3rd most runs (1,932), at comfortably the best batting average (74.30) in women’s ODIs.

The 2017/18 Australian season saw Perry finish as top run scorer in the Ashes, (351 runs) the WBBL (552) and the WNCL (372).  She also won or retained the trophy in all three competitions.

 

For the first time since the 2006/7 Rose Bowl series, Australia will play an ODI series without Alex Blackwell, who announced her retirement last month.  Blackwell’s absence is made up for by the return of Meg Lanning, who missed the 2017/18 Australian season due to a shoulder injury.

Since Lanning debuted in January 2011, the average women’s ODI batter playing at #1-7 in the order has made a century at a rate of one every 52.17 innings.  Lanning’s own rate is one century every 5.72 innings, in other words over nine times better than the average rate.  The next best current international (3+ centuries) during that period is Suzie Bates, at a rate of one century every 10.43 innings.

In run chases, Lanning scores a century once every 4.38 innings, which is over 21 times better than the average rate of 93.64 among #1-7 ODI batters since her debut.  Lanning has scored 8 of the 22 centuries made in ODI chases worldwide since her debut.

Lanning’s average ODI partnership with Ellyse Perry is 109.57, comfortably the highest among any paring to have batted togetehr 5+ times since Lanning’s debut.  Lanning & Perry have made eight century and four fifty partnerships in 18 innings.  They are the only pairing in ODI history to have shared more than one 200+ stand.  In their nine 2nd innings partnerships, Lanning and Perry have failed to reach their fifty partnership just once.

How Australia line-up will be one of the intriguing aspects of this series, with Elyse Villani and Beth Mooney most likely vying for a single spot.  Following the Ashes, Villani is the incumbent but her international returns have never really lived up to expectation.  Mooney’s stronger ODI stats, excellent form in the Ashes T20Is, plus a century in the first warm-up game of this tour may be hard to ignore.

A batter Australia are yet to see the best of in ODIs is Ashleigh Gardner.  Gardner’s clean-striking and devastating power led to a record 21 sixes at a rate of 1 every 11.9 balls-faced during the most recent WBBL season.  If Gardner finds a way to emulate such feats in ODIs, it could well be the key to Australia reaching their desired higher totals.


Smriti Mandhana’s 219 runs in South Africa were the most ever scored for India in a 3 match ODI series.  Mithali Raj, who sets a record every time she scores a run in ODIs, had a disappointing ODI series in South Africa (70 runs at 23.33) but took player of the series in the T20Is that followed.

Raj’s ODI average of 34.51 vs Australia is her lowest for any single opponent, though it rises to 41.62 when playing the Australians in India.  Raj has yet to make an ODI century in 31 attempts vs Australia (her HS is 89), while her younger counterparts Harmamnpreet Kaur, Punam Raut and Smriti Mandhana have all reached three figures against the Australians.

Kaur’s 171* in the World Cup semi-final is the 2nd highest ODI score vs Australia, and her average of 56.87 is the highest of any player to have batted 10+ times against Australia.  Lanning is the only member of the Australian squad to have made an ODI century vs India.

Mandhana and Raut will hope their success vs Australia translates to home soil. While captian Raj and vice-captain Kaur have strong ODI records at home and away, the rest of India’s main batters are mostly yet to prove themselves at home.

Mandhana’s 714 runs in 19 innings at 47.60 (SR 91.89, 3×100, 4×50) away compares starkly with a modest 438 in 16 at 23.05 (SR 65.37, 3×50) at home.  Raut and Deepti Sharma’s averages, and especially their strike rates, will have to drastically improve at home if they’re to have a (positive) impact on the series.

India WODI batting home

In part this is due to a lack of opportunity.  India last played a home international fixture 16 months ago, when West indies visited for 3 ODIs & 3 T20Is in November 2016.  The sparse nature of the scheduling means ‘form’ is not something that often has a chance to manifest for more than a couple of weeks in women’s international cricket, which makes the performances of Raj, Perry, Lanning, etc all the more remarkable.


This will be the first International tour of Asia for Australia’s exciting legspinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, as well as offspinner Gardner. They and left-arm orthodox Jess Jonassen will hope Indian conditions prove more favourable than those experienced in the Ashes ODIs.

Australian spinners took 11 wickets at 37.00 and 5.19 rpo during the Ashes, compared with 15 at 19.86 at 4.65 rpo for their pace bowlers.  Overall however, spinners have been the most successful bowlers so far in the the 2017-20 ICC Women’s Championship,

2017-20 ICC Women’s Championship bowlingICCWC bowling

While spin will play a pivotal role in this series, the only bowlers in either squad (with 5+ wickets) to average under 30 against their respective opponents are pace bowlers Shikha Pandey of India (10 wickets at 16.50) and Ellyse Perry of Australia (28 wickets at 18.25).

 


ICC Women’s Championship 2017-20 – India vs Australia 

FIXTURES

12th March – 1st ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara
15th March – 2nd ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara
18th March – 3rd ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara

SQUADS

India: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Smriti Mandhana, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Sushma Verma, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey, Sukanya Parida, Pooja Vastrakar, Deepti Sharma

Australia: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington

ICC Women’s Championship preview – New Zealand vs West Indies

Stats derived from ESPNcricinfo statsguru.

The second round of 2017-20 ICC Women’s Championship fixtures begins at Bert Sutcliffe Oval on 4th March, when New Zealand play host to West Indies.

The series will be the first major examination for two sides that disappointed at the 2017 World Cup, both being eliminated before the knock-out stages.

2013 finalists, West Indies could only manage consolation victories vs Sri Lanka and Pakistan during their dismal campaign.  New Zealand were unlucky with the weather (their crucial group match with South Africa was the only game abandoned during the tournament), but came off comfortably second best in their group stage encounters against eventual semi-finalists Australia, England and India.

Since then, the West Indies have brushed aside Sri Lanka 3-0 in an error-strewn series at home in October 2017, and New Zealand have beaten Pakistan 2-1 in the UAE in October/November.

New Zealand’s loss at Sharjah on 5th November was their first defeat in any format against Pakistan.  That result would ordinarily prove costly in what looks set to be a hard fought ICC Women’s Championship, but the White Ferns are fortunate that they have automatically qualified as hosts for the 2021 World Cup.

In ODIs, New Zealand and West Indies have met 16 times. New Zealand have won eight and West Indies seven, with one no result.

The contest has been marked by extreme home advantage, with West Indies winning six of seven meetings in the Caribbean, and the White Ferns winning all three meetings in New Zealand.

Last 8 ODI results between NZ & WI:

NZ won by 9 wickets at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, 2014
NZ won by 94 runs at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, 2014
NZ won by 107 runs at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, 2014
WI won by 5 wickets at Warner Park St Kitts, 2014
WI won by 65 runs at Warner Park St Kitts, 2014
WI won by 8 wickets at Warner Park St Kitts, 2014
WI won by 4 runs at Warner Park St Kitts, 2014
NZ won by 8 wickets at Taunton, 2017 World Cup

This will be West Indies women’s second ever tour of New Zealand. The previous tour, in 2014, finished with series whitewashes for New Zealand in both ODIs (3-0) and T20Is (4-0).

West Indies have won just 2 of their last 11 ODI fixtures away from home, with their only victories in that sequence being their encounters with Pakistan and Sri Lanka during the group stages of the 2017 World Cup.

Since West Indies last visited New Zealand, the White Ferns have won 14 of 21 matches at home, with their only losses coming at the hands of England and Australia.

At neutral venues, specifically their six World Cup meetings, New Zealand have the upper hand over West Indies, 4-1 with one match abandoned during the 2005 World Cup.  The West Indies only victory vs New Zealand in World Cups was in 2013 in India, perhaps not coincidentally in lower, slower conditions that are most akin to their own at home.

West Indies captain, Stafanie Taylor has the most runs (526) and most wickets (21) in NZ/WI ODI contests and also has the highest individual score in these matches (135* at Sabina Park in Oct 2013), although her record in the few matches she’s played in New Zealand (3) is less impressive – 77 runs at 25.66 and 2 wickets at 37.00.

The run rate in women’s ODIs has seen a marked increase over the last few years, in the wake of expanded pools of contracted international players and nascent professional domestic T20 leagues in the form of WBBL and KSL.

Women’s ODI run rate:
2014 – 3.84 rpo (38 matches)
2015 – 3.91 rpo (34 matches)
2016 – 4.33 rpo (57 matches)
2017 – 4.41 rpo (70 matches)
2018 – 4.55 rpo (3 matches)

The ODI playing conditions have also changed since the 2017 World Cup, which may even see run rates escalate further.

As the below tables indicate, not only have West Indies failed to keep pace with the increasing ODI run rates of recent years, they’ve fallen back from the position they were in previously.  West Indies are one of the few batting sides to have a lower run rate, and to average fewer runs per wicket in the 2016-2018 period than they did in 2013-15.  By contrast, New Zealand are one of the sides at the forefront of the batting revolution.


Women’s ODI win/loss record 2013-2015
Average run rate: 3.94 rpo   Average runs per wicket: 23.31

Team Win / Loss W/L Ratio Bat ave RR Bowl ave. ER
AUS 19 / 5 3.800 32.92 4.75 22.67 4.16
ENG 18 / 9 2.000 29.56 4.54 24.17 4.20
SA 18 / 11 1.636 23.45 3.68 18.98 3.58
IND 12 / 8 1.500 26.85 4.02 21.12 3.77
WI 20 / 18 1.111 22.81 4.01 23.07 3.91
NZ 16 / 16 1.000 26.68 4.38 22.85 3.89
PAK 13 / 19 0.684 19.80 3.46 21.82 3.58
SL 6 / 24 0.250 18.20 3.50 32.50 4.49
BAN 2 / 8 0.250 16.75 3.22 26.27 3.77
IRE 0 / 6 0.000 9.90 2.56 28.93 4.56

 

Women’s ODI win/loss record since the start of 2016
Average run rate: 4.38 rpo   Average runs per wicket: 26.89

Team Win / Loss W/L Ratio Bat ave RR Bowl ave. ER
AUS 22 / 6 3.666 39.41 5.22 25.44 4.52
IND 25 / 7 3.571 37.96 4.67 20.58 3.84
ENG 21 / 6 3.500 33.19 5.25 23.10 4.12
NZ 17 / 10 1.700 33.44 5.07 25.19 4.19
SA 23 / 24 0.958 26.82 4.50 26.09 4.29
WI 9 / 12 0.750 20.82 3.75 24.22 4.03
BAN 3 / 8 0.375 16.28 3.04 25.14 4.22
SL 4 / 22 0.181 18.12 3.54 36.08 4.68
PAK 3 / 20 0.150 20.99 3.75 39.35 5.36
IRE 1 / 13 0.076 17.30 3.37 43.39 5.14

Since the start of 2016 (essentially the post-WBBL era), New Zealand’s Amy Satterthwaite has the highest batting average in women’s ODIs (76.41) and only South Africa’s Mignon du Preez (1,361) has scored more runs than Satterthwaite’s 1,299 in that period.  Du Preez has played 47 ODIs to Satterthwaite’s 27.

Satterthwaite is one of six New Zealanders among the top 25 in terms of ODI batting strike rate (200+ BF) since the start of 2016.  Only England, with seven, have more players that highly placed.  The first West Indian on that list is Deandra Dottin in 26th (76.83).  Dottin is the only West Indian with a strike above the ODI average for the period (68.41).

Dottin, who made 104* vs Pakistan at the World Cup, is also the only West Indian to have made an ODI century since the start of 2016.  Stafanie Taylor’s batting average of 34.31 is relatively modest, especially given her career record, but that still makes her West Indies most consistent performer with the bat in that time-frame.  Taylor has more 50+ scores (7) than all her her teammates combined (6) since the start of 2016.

Women;s ODI batting pre&post WBBL

Where West Indies continue to be effective is in their bowling economy rate.  Only India (3.84 rpo) have a better ODI ER than West Indies 4.03 since the start of 2016.  Once again however, West Indies bowlers fare less well away from the Caribbean (ER of 4.42 rpo away vs 3.48 rpo at home).

Among bowlers to have taken 12+ ODI wickets since the start of 2016, New Zealand have three bowlers among the top six in the averages.

Best ODI bowling average since start of 2016 (12+ wickets):

16.74 RS Gayakwad IND (39 wickets)
17.31 LM Kasperek NZ (16)
17.53 HR Huddleston NZ (30)
17.77 S Pandey IND (45)
18.53 HL Ferling AUS (13)
18.92 HM Rowe NZ (13)
19.75 ASS Fletcher WI (24)
19.78 Khadija Tul Kubra BAN (19)
20.14 E Bisht (35)
20.73 SR Taylor (19)

Afy Fletcher, in 7th is the first West Indian on the list, closely followed by Taylor in 10th. Fletcher and Taylor are also among three West Indians to feature in the top 10 for best ODI economy rate since the start of 2016 (although one of them, Shakera Selman is injured so won’t feature in this series).

Best ODI economy rate since the start of 2016 (50+ overs bowled):

2.87 M Joshi IND
3.42 E Bisht IND
3.44 GM Harris AUS
3.47 LA Marsh ENG
3.49 SR Taylor WI
3.53 SC Selman WI
3.57 ASS Fletcher WI
3.59 Poonam Yadav IND
3.61 IMHC Joyce IRE
3.61 DB Sharma IND

A few economical bowlers can only do so much, however.  For West Indies to return to the top ranks of women’s ODI cricket, their batters must adapt to a rapidly evolving game.  There are few places with more favourable conditions to begin that process than New Zealand.

Since the start of 2016, the ODI run rate in New Zealand has been the second highest in the world (4.99 rpo), and wickets have been harder to come by (a cost of 35.93 runs per wicket) than in any other nation.

Women’s ODI run rate by host nation since the start of 2016:

Country ODIs Runs Wkts Balls Ave. RR
AUS 11 5087 160 6112 31.79 4.99
NZ 11 4958 138 5961 35.93 4.99
ENG 33 13753 465 17415 29.58 4.74
SA 23 8996 327 12240 27.51 4.41
IRE 6 1965 82 2802 23.96 4.21
UAE 3 1078 47 1585 22.94 4.08
SL 24 8063 344 12331 23.44 3.92
BAN 5 1652 76 2555 21.74 3.88
IND 6 1920 84 3152 22.86 3.65
WI 8 2519 136 4269 18.52 3.54

Women’s Ashes Preview – ODIs

In the past two years, women’s cricket has experienced a transformation that shows little sign of abating. There have been more matches played in 2016 & 2017 than at any time in ODI history.

At the same time, the first professional domestic T20 leagues have been launched (the WBBL in 2015-16 and the KSL in 2016). Improved contracts are allowing more players than ever to play and train full-time. These factors, coupled with a World Cup played on good surfaces in England, have set the stage for a revolution in ODI batting.

The 2017 Women’s World Cup smashed batting records across the board (everything from tournament run rate, highest partnerships centuries & fifties scored to sixes hit) and the ODI run rate in 2017 (4.38 RPO) is currently the highest ever for a calendar year.

From the end of the 2013 World Cup, until the conclusion of the 2015 Ashes (referred to as the 2013-15 seasons for the rest of this post), the ODI run rate was 3.87 RPO. Since the 2015 Ashes, that has risen to 4.33 RPO. The percentage of runs scored in boundaries has risen from 38.43% in the 2013-2015 seasons to 44.38% since the 2015 Ashes.

For England, this period of rapid change also coincided with the appointment of head coach Mark Robinson, who took over in the wake of their 2015 Ashes loss. He had some difficult decisions to make early in his tenure, but by all accounts, the changes Robinson has made were key to England’s triumph over India at Lord’s on 23rd July.

WODI teams post 2013WC-2015 Ashes

WODI teams since 2015 Ashes

During the 2013-2015 seasons, Australia were the dominant batting unit in world cricket. Their run-rate (4.91 RPO) equated to scoring on average 19 more runs per 50 overs than the next best side. Excluding 2nd placed England (4.52 RPO), Australia’s RR outstripped all others sides by at least 49 runs per 50 over innings.

This advantage has been eliminated since the 2015 Ashes. Australia are still one of the strongest batting units (5.21 RPO to England’s 5.27 and New Zealand’s 5.31)  but no longer an outlier.

Australia scored five of the eleven 250+ totals posted in the 2013-15 seasons, with no other side managing more than two.

WODI innings per 250+ 2013-2015

Since the 2015 Ashes, Australia remain the most consistent side in terms of reaching 250+ (13 times) but they don’t dominate the other teams to the previous extent, and have so far been unable to match the top end scoring displayed by other nations.

WODI innings per 250+ since 2015 Ashes

Australia last scored 300 in an ODI in March 2012. Since then, there have been twelve 300+ totals scored in women’s ODIs, by five different nations.

While England’s run rate (5.27 RPO) and propensity for massive totals have caught the eye (England have scored the four highest ODI totals since the 2015 Ashes), they’ve also dramatically improved as a bowling unit.

Despite the overall increase in ODI run rate, England have actually improved their bowling economy rate since the 2015 Ashes (3.96 RPO) compared with the 2013-2015 seasons (4.23).

This has been down to the successful introduction of new players such as Alex Hartley, but also because of a return to form of several senior players. Brunt, Hazell, Marsh and Shrubsole have all dramatically improved since Robinson took over as coach.

WODI England senior bowlers pre post 2015 Ashes

Australia haven’t managed a similar bowling improvement, so have been drawn back into the pack despite improving their run rate as a batting side.

12 of England’s 2017-18 Ashes squad were members of the defeated squad whose display was so lacklustre in 2015, but their confidence and approach to the game couldn’t be more different.

As the tables below indicate, during the 2013-2015 seasons English players were glaringly short of the other top nations in terms of six hitting.

English batters cleared the rope just six times, at a rate of one every 884 balls faced. The only nations with a worse rate of sixes hit and also fewer different individual six-hitters than England, were Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ireland.

Since the 2015 Ashes, England have been at the forefront of a significant increase in the rate of ODI six-hitting.

WODI sixes pre post 2015 ashes

Australia, like most other nations have massively improved, though not to the same extent as England. English players have gone from collectively hitting sixes at over 530 balls behind the average ODI rate during the 2013-2015 seasons, to hitting them at over 84 balls ahead of the average rate since the 2015 Ashes.

Since the 2015 Ashes, ten different English players have hit an ODI six. There’s clear evidence this improvement is down to mindset and playing environment, in that all ten of those players had played ODIs for England before this period. Only four of them however, (Brunt, Gunn, Shrubsole and Knight) had previously hit a six.

Comparing the list of top six-hitters in the 2013-15 period with the list since the 2015 Ashes illustrates this well. In 2013-15 Katherine Brunt was the highest ranked English player, in 11th place with three sixes.

WODI six hitting 2013-2015 and 2015 to present

Englishwomen now occupy three of the top 10 spots. Those three players had batted 48 (Knight), 16 (Beaumont) and 14 (Sciver) times for England before, but had just one ODI six between them. They now rank 1st, 2nd and 4th on England’s all-time list for ODI career sixes.

England have also had five different ODI centurions since the 2015 Ashes, compared with just two (Edwards and Taylor) during the 2013-2015 seasons. Only their World Cup final opponents, India (with six) have seen more different players bring up three figures in ODIs during that time.

Four Australians have scored centuries since the last Ashes, but they will come into the series without the most prolific of them all, Meg Lanning.

Lanning’s absence from the Ashes will be most keenly felt in the ODI series, particularly in run chases. Australia’s strong record batting 2nd (13 wins and 3 losses since the 2015 Ashes) is built on Lanning’s extraordinary prowess in ODI chases.

With eight centuries in just 35 career chases, Lanning has twice as many as the next woman on the list and has made an absurd 22.86% of all the 2nd innings centuries ever scored (35) in the 44 year history of women’s ODIs.

Australia have therefore been comfortable choosing to field in recent times (they have fielded first 8 out of 17 times when wining the toss since the 2015 Ashes) but that may change without Lanning.

England have chosen to bat first 9 out of 12 times when winning the toss since the last Ashes. That’s not a surprise given their extremely strong record batting first – 12 wins and one loss, plus the highest 1st innings average total (280.85) during that period.

Lanning isn’t the be-all and end-all. Australia have always had an exceptional record chasing, especially at home. That said, England’s capacity for chasing is one of the few unproven areas of their game since Robinson took charge. With an 8/3 win/loss record and a highest score of 246 batting 2nd (their loss to India in the opening match of the World Cup), they have yet to convince in the same manner as when they bat first.

WODI win loss since 2015 Ashes bat 1st

WODI win loss since 2015 Ashes field 1st

As well as missing Lanning’s individual runs and her captaincy, Australia will have to make do without her ultra-reliable partnership with Ellyse Perry (1,534 runs at 5.24 RPO and an average of 109.57).

Australia’s next most prolific pairing is Alex Blackwell & Perry (1,415 runs; 5.10 RPO; average 61.52). It would seem to make sense for Perry and Blackwell, also domestic teammates for NSW, to follow each other in the batting order, but that hasn’t been the case recently for Australia.

Among ODI partnerships that have faced 50+ overs since the 2015 Ashes, England’s Beaumont & Sciver (371 runs; 7.15 RPO; ave 74.00) have the 7th highest average and the highest run rate.

Beaumont and Lauren Winfield (913 runs; 4.76 RPO; ave 50.72) need 87 more runs together to be the first England opening pair to bring up 1,000 ODI runs since Sarah Taylor and Caroline Atkins in 2009.

A slight question mark hangs over the England batting line-up’s record in Australia. A number of key players either haven’t played an ODI in Australia (Beaumont, Winfield, Wilson) or don’t have particularly impressive records batting there in the past.

Heather Knight, Sarah Taylor and Natalie Sciver are the only members of the Ashes squad with ODI fifties in Australia. No Englishwoman has ever made an ODI hundred against the Australians in Australia.

Only Lanning has scored more ODI centuries in Australia (4) than Australia vice-captain Alex Blackwell (3). During the 2013/14 Ashes series in Australia, Blackwell scored a half century in each ODI. In home ODIs against England over the course of her career, Blackwell averages 57.86 with one century and four fifties in ten innings.

Among women who have played 10+ ODI innings in Australia, Ellyse Perry has the 2nd highest batting average (58.10) behind only Lindsay Reeler (70.50). Reeler incidentally, was the fastest woman, in terms of innings batted (23) to bring up 1,000 ODI runs.

Even without Lanning (3rd highest average in Australia – 56.12), several members of Australia’s Ashes squad feature prominently: Nicole Bolton is ranked 7th (49.06); Blackwell 10th (44.57) and stand-in captain Rachael Haynes 11th (39.87).

Less happy reading for Australia are the home records of Beth Mooney (ave 17.00), Elyse Villani (13.44) and Alyssa Healy (11.86). The Ashes may be a final reckoning for Villani as an ODI player, with three half centuries in 25 innings, she has yet to show the form she does at domestic level.

WODI ODI runs scored in Australia

In truth, there’s not much to choose between the two batting units but the presence of Knight and Sciver in England’s top five is what gives their bowling attack much greater balance. England can take the field with a possible seven bowling options, mitigating against any one (or two) players having a bad day.

Australia have struggled to fill their 50 overs to such an extent that they’ve resorted to bowling Villani and even on one occasion, Nicole Bolton. This puts enormous pressure on their frontline quartet of Perry, Schutt, Jonassen and Beams.

Ashleigh Gardner has performed well with the ball since debuting earlier this year, but beyond her the options are either unproven or ineffective.

Among ODI bowlers who have bowled 25+ overs since the last Ashes, Villani has the 5th worst economy rate in world cricket (5.95 RPO). On the same scale, England’s Laura Marsh (3.41) and Katherine Brunt (3.45) have respectively been the 6th and 8th most economical bowlers. Hartley (3.90) has also been impressive.

While she didn’t feature in the 2013/14 Ashes, Marsh’s 25 ODI wickets in Australia (including 16 at the 2009 World Cup) make her the 2nd most successful overseas bowler on Australian soil, behind New Zealand’s Aimee Watkins.

WODI most wickets taken by overseas players in AUS

Among ODI bowlers with 20+ ODI wickets in Australia, Marsh has the 4th lowest bowling average (16.52) and is the only active player in the top 10.

WODI best bowling ave ODIs in AUS (20+ wkts taken)

Perry (21.77) is the first current Australian player on the list at 11th. Perry has taken more ODI wickets in Australia (74) than any other player. The next highest current internationals on the list are Jonassen (with 27) and Marsh (25).

WODI most wickets taken in AUS

With Australia the holders, the Ashes points system requires England to win at least one of the limited overs series if they are to regain the trophy. Australia have never lost a bilateral ODI series at home to England.

Two rained off warm-ups games have complicated England’s preparations but the World Champions deserve their favourites tag for the ODI series. Lanning’s injury, combined with other selection issues give the visitors the slight edge.


 

ODI runs since the 2015 Ashes:

Australia          England

ODI wickets since the 2015 Ashes: 

Australia          England

 

Women’s Ashes – Players to watch

Ellyse Perry – While Meg Lanning is out injured, Ellyse Perry takes up the mantle of “best batsman in the world”. Though both have outstanding ODI averages, they achieve them in very different ways. Lanning naturally scores at a rate that outstrips virtually all other top order players, while Perry is more measured but exceptionally difficult to dismiss.

WODI BpD since start 2014

Since cementing her place in the Australian top 5 at the start of 2014, Perry has faced more balls per dismissal (104.95) than any other player and averages an incredible 83.23. In home ODIs during that period, she has made 12 half-centuries in 14 innings, amassing 902 runs at an even more eye-popping 112.75. Perry’s career average of 95.00 in successful ODI chases also points to her cool head under pressure. Her strong technique and exceptional temperament make Perry the favourite to bring up a century in the Ashes Test.

In Lanning’s absence, Perry may be required to score at a higher rate than she ordinarily does for Australia. While better known for clockwork consistency rather than lightning scoring, she has the ability to dramatically go up the gears when needed. In the Kia Super League for example, Perry has the highest strike rate (224.56) of any batsman to have faced over 10 balls during the death overs, hitting boundaries at a rate of one every 2.59 balls faced during that period of the innings.

Apart from her batting, Perry has taken more ODI wickets in Australia (74) than any other bowler. 2nd place Lisa Sthalekar has 61, no current international has more than 27. Three more will give Perry the T20I record as well.

WODI most wickets taken in AUS

In Test cricket, Perry has the 7th best bowling average (16.11) of all time (min. 1000 balls bowled), making her the highest ranked current player on the list.


Tammy Beaumont – The epitome of Mark Robinson’s revitalised England set-up, Tammy Beaumont has gone from a fringe player to arguably the most important member of the England batting line up.

Her 342 runs against Pakistan in 2016 were the most ever scored in a three match ODI series. 410 runs at the 2017 World Cup deservedly earned her Player of the Tournament, and equalled the late Jan Brittin’s England record for runs at a single tournament. Brittin scored 410 when England last hosted the World Cup in 1993.

During the World Cup, Beaumont also brought up her 1,000th ODI run. 32 innings batted made her the 4th fastest Englishwoman to reach the mark, but her career turnaround is best exemplified by the fact that she had scored just 207 runs in 16 innings when Robinson became coach.

Beaumont has the most centuries (3) of any ODI opener since the 2015 Ashes. In T20I cricket, Beaumont and Jenny Gunn are both just one shot behind Charlotte Edwards’ England record of 10 T20I career sixes. Edwards played 93 T20I innings, compared with Gunn’s 62 and Beaumont’s 30. Beaumont had just one six from 19 T20I innings (not to mention a batting average of 8.31) at the start of 2016.


Alex Blackwell – Only Meg Lanning has scored more ODI centuries in Australia (4) than Blackwell (3). Blackwell made half-centuries in all three ODIs during the 2013/14 Ashes and averages 57.87 in home ODIs against England.

Blackwell, who debuted in 2003, has shown a remarkable ability to adapt to and exceed the increasing ODI run rate of recent years. For the first half of her career (61 innings from 2003-2009), her SR was a modest 56.48. During this period, the average ODI run rate was 3.61 RPO, equivalent to a SR of 60.17 (Cricinfo’s statsguru doesn’t have full ODI balls faced data for individual players during this era so getting an accurate average batting SR isn’t possible. The overall ODI run rate will have to suffice as a point of comparison).

2010 was the first time Blackwell completed a calendar year with a SR over 70, and she’s become ever more expansive since then, particularly after the launch of the WBBL in 2015.

Since the 2015 Ashes, the ODI run rate has been 4.33 RPO and the average batting SR is 67.62. Blackwell’s ODI SR for this period is 91.43. Blackwell’s first significant score for Australia was 53 (95) back in 2005. Her most recent innings, almost the reverse – 90* (56) at the 2017 World Cup.

Her 907 combined runs in the WBBL and KSL make Blackwell the 7th highest scoring player in those professional domestic T20 leagues. Her versatility is such that she also holds distinction in the longest format, Blackwell (4) and Jess Jonassen (2) are the only players in either Ashes squad to have made more than one 50+ Test score.

Blackwell is also set to achieve numerous career landmarks during the Ashes series:

(deep breath) By playing in this series, Blackwell will equal Charlotte Edwards’ record of appearing in nine Ashes series. The first ODI will be Blackwell’s 142nd for Australia, which will break Karen Rolton’s Australian ODI appearance record. Blackwell will then equal Rolton’s Australian record of 11 Ashes Test caps, when she plays in the day/night Test at North Sydney Oval.

That match is set to be Blackwell’s 4th of the series, which would take her past Charlotte Edwards’ record for most Ashes match appearances (31). Finally, the first T20I will be Blackwell’s 96th T20I cap. She and England’s Jenny Gunn both currently share the T20I career appearance record of 95, with Charlotte Edwards (who else?).


Natalie Sciver – When she’s not rewriting the coaching manual, Natalie Sciver is a scorer of breathtaking innings that take the match out of the opposition’s reach.

Her 80 (33) vs Pakistan at Worcester in 2016 holds the record for the highest SR (242.42) for an ODI innings of 25+ balls. That innings contained six sixes, the most ever hit in an ODI innings by an Englishwoman. Unsurprisingly, Sciver also holds the England record for ODI career sixes (15).

Big hitting, combined with excellent running between the wickets means Sciver maintains an exceptional strike rate, and so can achieve previously unheard of batting feats for a middle order ODI batsman. Her 129 vs New Zealand during the World Cup is the highest score ever by an ODI #5. She and India’s Harmanpreet Kaur are the only players to have made more than one ODI century batting at #4 or lower.

England have played so little T20I cricket (just 3 matches) since their disappointing 2016 World T20 campaign, and Sciver has been so extraordinary in ODIs in the intervening period (864 runs at 50.82 with a SR of 110.20), that her ODI career strike rate (103.78) is now higher than her T20I strike rate (96.31).

Sciver’s presence in the lineup also provides England with enormous balance as a bowling side. With two international standard bowlers batting in the top 5 (Sciver and captain Heather Knight), England take the field in ODIs with seven bowling options. A stark contrast to Australia, who have so struggled to fill their fifty overs they’ve resorted to using Elyse Villani and even Nicole Bolton as bowlers in recent times.

During the 2017 World Cup, Sciver became the first woman to bring up 1,000 ODI runs from fewer than 1,000 deliveries. Her 943 balls faced broke Lanning’s record of 1,011.


Ashleigh Gardner – 20 year old Ashleigh Gardner is perhaps the only current player who has the potential to challenge Sciver’s 1,000 run record. Her current international stats may not suggest it, but Gardner is one of the most exciting batters in world cricket. A clean-hitting all-rounder with devastating power, she was the 5th highest runscorer in WBBL02 (414 runs) and hit the joint most sixes (13) that season.

Gardner will probably bat in the middle order in the T20Is but has yet to be given much responsibility with the bat in ODIs. Since the 2015 Ashes, Australia have only lost 6 or more wickets in 14 of their 26 ODI innings. Gardner, who debuted earlier this year, has never batted higher than #8 in ODIs so has had few opportunities. She has so far batted just five times in her ten ODI appearances.

A place or two higher in the order would make better use of Gardner’s talents and might get Australia close to 300, a total they haven’t reached in ODIs since 2012.

While she hasn’t had much of a look-in with the bat, Gardner has bowled 94 overs of tidy offspin in ODIs. Among Australians to have bowled in more than one ODI this year, she has the best economy rate (4.27 RPO).


Katherine Brunt – Ten wickets during this Ashes series, to add to the 44 she has already, would make Katherine Brunt the highest wicket taker in Ashes history.

Most women;s Ashes career wickets

Brunt’s 38 Test career wickets put her 5th on England’s all-time list and she is one of just four members of England’s Ashes squad with a Test fifty to her name.

In a tournament that smashed batting records, Brunt was among the most economical bowlers at the 2017 World Cup (3.77 RPO), and is the 3rd most economical ODI bowler (3.45 RPO) since the 2015 Ashes (100+ overs bowled).

Since the inauguration of professional T20 leagues in 2015, Brunt has also become an increasingly effective middle-lower order batter.

At the 2017 World Cup she made her ODI career high score (45* against Australia) as she and Jenny Gunn combined for the highest 7th wicket partnership at a World Cup (85 runs). In the final against India, Brunt’s vital 34 run contribution was the 2nd highest score of her career.

While England haven’t played enough T20Is recently to prove it, in the shortest format Brunt must now be considered a genuine all-rounder.

Over the course of two Kia Super League seasons, Brunt is the 9th highest run scorer, has the 2nd highest batting SR (140.40, the tournament average is 102.15) and has bowled the 2nd highest percentage of dot balls (60.2%). The only players with more KSL runs than Brunt are top order international batsmen, several of whom will feature in the Ashes.

Most KSL career runs

With 205 runs at a SR of 132.51 and 10 wickets, Brunt was also a key member of the Perth Scorchers squad that reached the final of WBBL02.

Women’s Test Cricket at North Sydney Oval

Four matches in 48 years may not seem like much, but it will make North Sydney Oval the joint most commonly used women’s Test venue in Australia. Adelaide Oval is the only other Australian ground to have hosted four women’s Tests.

The historic day/night Ashes Test beginning on 9th November will in fact be the fifth scheduled women’s Test at the ground. In 1958 North Sydney Oval was set to host the 1st Test of the Ashes, but heavy rain meant the game was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

1969 would be the year when Test cricket graced the pitch for the first time, as it played host to the 3rd & final Test of the Ashes.

Lorraine Kutcher’s 5/49 for Australia are still the best Test bowling figures at the ground. Similarly, in the two subsequent Tests at North Sydney, no away batsmen have bettered Rachel Heyhoe-Flint and June Moorhouse’s respective scores of 59 & 59* for England in 1969. Heyhoe-Flint’s half-century was her fourth of the series, an Ashes record that stands to this day (Denise Emerson equalled the feat in 1984-5, as did Jan Brittin in 1998).

The match ended as a draw (the third of the series) and ensured England would retain the trophy (figuratively, there was no physical trophy until 1998). The 1968/69 series began a run of seven drawn Ashes Tests in a row that didn’t end until the unbelievable 2nd Test at Adelaide in December 1984.

It would be 22 years until Test cricket returned to North Sydney. The visitors on that occasion were India, playing the 1st Test of a three-match series. India’s 1990/91 tour was the last time a team other than England would play more than a single Test when visiting Australia.

The match saw the Test debut of Australian all-time-great Belinda Clark, who made 104 in her first innings as Australia posted 301/4 declared (Australia would only lose 17 wickets all series). That innings gave Australia control of the game but India came away with a draw, largely thanks to Sandhya Agarwal.

Agarwal’s 452-minute 51 is the longest Test innings played in Australia and the 13th longest recorded in Test history. Her 398 balls faced are 11th most recorded in a Test match innings and the most faced for a score of less than 100 (Agarwal also holds the outright record for her 523-ball 190 at Worcester in 1986). The 1991 North Sydney Test remains the only time India have avoided defeat in a Test in Australia.

A year later, the ground saw the only Test of the 1991/92 Ashes, the first time the contest would be decided by a “series” of fewer than three matches (the Ashes returned to being a multi-Test series in 1998, but has contained no more than one Test match since 2008).

Isabelle Tsakiris in her only Test, and Charmaine Mason also on debut, restricted England to 146 all out in the 1st innings, before Denise Annetts outscored England on her own with 148* in the 2nd.

That score remains the highest Test score made in Australia. Annetts and Lyn Larsen’s 222 run stand for the 4th wicket is still the highest Test partnership ever made in Australia and the 7th highest in all Tests. Australia posted 346/4 declared, the 2nd highest Test total on Australian soil and the last time any side has made over 300 in a Test in Australia.

England reached 51 without loss, but once Australia got the breakthrough they crumbled in slow motion to 115 all out in the course of 102.2 overs. Australia’s crushing margin of victory, an innings and 85 runs, is the 2nd widest for an Ashes Test.

Tsakiris (50.0-30-45-7) and Mason (46.1-17-79-7) finished the match with seven wickets apiece, respectively the 3rd and 4th best debut figures in an Ashes Test. Only Anne Palmer (7-27) and Myrtle Maclagan (7-41), both playing in the very first women’s Test at Brisbane in 1934, have recorded better debut match figure in an Ashes Test.

A quarter of a century on, it remains to be seen what sort of match the conditions at North Sydney will allow. For a variety of reasons (everything from the visibility of the game to the long-term the viability of the format), the day/night Test is unquestionably the most important of the four women’s Test matches to be staged at the ground. The least the game deserves is a playing surface fit for the occasion.