Australian captain Meg Lanning has defended her side’s decision to bat out the final day of their drawn Test match against England.
The draw ensures that Australia will retain the Women’s Ashes as they lead the multi-format series 8-2. With only three T20s left to play, each worth two points, and Australia already holders of the Ashes, England came into the Test knowing only a win would keep up their Ashes hopes.
However, a combination of Australia’s big first-innings total centred around Ellyse Perry’s second Test hundred and a second day truncated by rain meant a draw was always the likeliest result.
England resumed their first innings on the final day on 199/6 and went on to declare on 275/9. However, any hopes of a contrived finish were eliminated as Australia batted out 64 overs before both captains agreed to shake hands.
On the decision not to declare earlier in the day and create the chance of a positive result Lanning said the Australians “weren’t going to throw it open to England to give them a chance.”
“We thought about (declaring) and had a good chat about what our options were, and whether we could force a result but we sort of looked at how many overs were left, especially given how many wickets were falling,” Lanning said.
“Test cricket’s supposed to be hard and a tough battle and I think that’s exactly what it was. Both teams were trying to get an advantage. I don’t think it was entirely either team’s fault where we ended up in the game, to be honest.
“At different points we were trying to win it, we just lost time throughout and it got to a point where we felt we couldn’t win the game.”
“We came into the Test match six-nil up and we were in a position to make that decision.”
England coach Mark Robinson shared similar sentiments also highlighting the two sessions lost to rain on the second day as being key. Robinson, the former Sussex coach, also played down the chances of any contrived finish being agreed with the Australians on the final day when asked if he considered trying to reach an agreement with the Australian dressing room,
“I didn’t consider that at all,” we lost two sessions (to rain) which makes it really hard, doesn’t it,” Robinson said.
“That plays a part. You’re watching, I’m involved, desperately trying to find ways to win a match.”
“They’re quite within their rights to close up shop and shut the game down and retain them (The Ashes)
“Fair play to them. We’ve got to congratulate Australia: they’ve played better cricket than us and they’re the holders of the Ashes again. To Meg, who is an outstanding leader, you say well done.”
The Ashes series is set to end with three T20s on July 26, July 28 and July 31 at Chelmsford, Hove and Bristol respectively.
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