Australia v England: Australia secure most comprehensive victory in final Women’s Ashes ODI match

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Heather Knight must reignite England’s fire and passion after a crushing end to Ashes series ahead of World Cup

Up until this point, Australia had been stealing the victories but the two nations looked to be in close competition with England just one step behind their opponents at every point.

However, in the final match of the Women’s Ashes, just before the Women’s World Cup begins, Australia proved their overall superiority and secured the most convincing win of the series leaving England bewildered and in need of some serious rethinking ahead of the World Cup.

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Speaking to the press after the match, the English captain Heather Knight said: “The way we started the series with the bat was outstanding. We will be a bit frustrated there were a few opportunities missed. The last two games aren’t a reflection of us as a side. We were a bit fatigued and a bit tired.

Knight scored just 9 in final ODI matchKnight scored just 9 in final ODI match
Knight scored just 9 in final ODI match | Getty Images

“Bar today, our bowling has been in a really good place. We are looking forward to getting to New Zealand and starting again.”

Starting again will be crucial. Knight must ensure her team shake off the disappointments of the ODI series and come into the World Cup fresh faced, with a new intensity and ferocity.

What was the score in the third and final Ashes fixture?

Meg Lanning’s side took an eight wicket win after just 36 overs to win the final Ashes battle and leave England with a 12-4 defeat in the series overall.

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Debutante Emma Lamb came up to the wicket but lasted just two balls before falling to the Women Ashes legend Ellyse Perry.

An all round bowling performance from the Australians saw wickets for Perry as well as Megan Schutt, Tahlia McGrath, Alana King, Jess Jonassen and four for Annabel Sutherland.

Tammy Beaumont and Nat Sciver were England’s only saving graces putting on a half century and 46 runs respectively but the dismal performances of Knight, Wyatt, Amy Jones, Sophie Eccelstone, Anya Shrubsole, Tash Farrant and Freya Davies with the bat meant England only reached 163 before the final wicket fell.

Tammy Beaumont, left, produced wonderful half century in final ODITammy Beaumont, left, produced wonderful half century in final ODI
Tammy Beaumont, left, produced wonderful half century in final ODI | Getty Images

In response, Australia lost just two wickets - Alyssa Healy for 42 and Rachael Haynes for 31 - in their chase.

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Meg Lanning led from the front once more as she scored 57 runs while Perry supported with another 31 runs.

England’s Davies and Ecclestone redeemed themselves slightly as they both took wickets, with Ecclestone enjoying an economy of 1.80 while Charlie Dean struggled in her five overs going for 35 runs.

What needs to change?

Two matches ago, England’s state of affairs were in a much more promising position than they are today.

Critics and journalists - myself included - had been noting the parity between the two sides and how England’s women looked to come out of this series with a much more positive outlook than their male counterparts.

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One of the most thrilling female Test matches showed the grit and perseverance of the English team and their determination to fight back.

However, just a week after, the tables have turned yet again and England must start back at square one once more as they suffer the battles of lost confidence, dejection and humiliation with only a few weeks to go before the ODI World ranking.

Unlike England, Australia have all the options available to them at the drop of a hat. So much so that their best T20 cricketer and Ashes heroine, Ellyse Perry was not selected in their first match.

England, however, are not blessed with the same variety as their opponents.

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If one thing has been highlighted by this series it must be that bowling fast is dangerously important.

The 23-year-old Australian Tayla Vlaeminck is regularly bowling at around 77mph while the average for a female seamer is around 65mph.

Vlaeminck can bowl at around 77mph compared to an average of 65mph amongst her peersVlaeminck can bowl at around 77mph compared to an average of 65mph amongst her peers
Vlaeminck can bowl at around 77mph compared to an average of 65mph amongst her peers | Getty Images

If England are to improve their game, which they must do quickly if they stand a chance in New Zealand, their selection must offer a wide variety of skills, talent and ability without relying on just two key players to put the effort in. Katherine Brunt has been key for England’s bowling attack, while Australia have been able to draw on almost every single bowler to defeat the opposition.

Additionally, the consistency within the team must be improved overseas. This is a problem not just seen in the women’s game, but the men severely struggle with performance overseas.

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Knight has been saying throughout the tournament that certain performances are not what England are capable of, but it is becoming harder to believe when what England are capable of is becoming a rarity to see.

When is the Women’s World Cup?

Heather Knight will lead her troops into battle once more from Friday 4 March 2022 in New Zealand.

Their first fixture - as if they hadn’t been bruised enough - will be against Australia on Saturday 5 March at 1am GMT.

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