While the headlines have been taken up by the England men’s series victory over Australia (and the rather unconventional celebration of urinating on the pitch at the Oval), the England women have been quietly working away and have secured an Ashes win of their own.
Lydia Greenway, generally agreed to be one of the best fielders in the world, showed her skill with the bat yesterday as she scored 80 not out in the second Twenty20 international to steer her side to a series win. The women’s Ashes is calculated differently to the men’s – while the men’s series is decided over five Test matches (each side bats twice over five days), the women’s has a new format, including one Test, three one-day internationals (each side bats for 50 overs), and three Twenty20 internationals (each side bats for 20 overs), with points awarded for a win.
England have wrapped the series up with a Twenty20 match to spare – made all the more impressive when one considers that Australia are the world champions in one-day internationals and Twenty20 internationals.
Special mention must go to long-serving captain Charlotte Edwards, who has once again led her team admirably throughout; wicket-keeper Sarah Taylor, who scored 77 in the first Twenty20; Heather Knight, who with Taylor put on a terrific second-wicket partnership of 126 in the third one-day international and scored a century in the Test match – but the entire squad has done a job they can be very proud of.
In fact, their performances have been so impressive they even persuaded the mainstream media to begin covering their matches mid-series, with the BBC offering commentary via their digital radio platforms and Sky Sports showing the games via their red button interactive services.
Some of us, of course, would have told the broadcasters before the series started that they should be covering the matches, because it would be a well-fought contest and entertaining viewing; some of us would also have seethed inwardly at the official series Twitter hashtag #womensashes while the men’s series was just tagged #ashes, because it just reinforces the idea that men’s sport is “normal” sport while women’s needs to be differentiated; and some of us might even be contemplating writing a letter of complaint that yesterday’s Twenty20 international didn’t have any entertainment laid on, while the men’s Twenty20 (at the same ground, one hour later) had fire-breathers and all sorts, just to add to the spectacle.
All that’s for another day, though. For now, congratulations to England and Australia for a competitive series, played in a great spirit, providing terrific entertainment to spectators.
Image is of the England team celebrating winning the Ashes. Credit – Getty Images for the ECB.