Australia and England have played out a Test match to remember at Manuka Oval, with the tourists falling 12 runs short of completing a historic win in Canberra.
After England was set a target of 257 following Meg Lanning’s brave declaration early on Day 4, stellar batting from the likes of Sophia Dunkley and Nat Sciver gave the visitors hope of gaining the overall lead in the series.
However, Alana King and Annabel Sutherland roared Australia back into contention, with a flurry of wickets bringing all three possible results back into play heading into the final overs of the day. Sophie Ecclestone and Kate Cross echoed the fourth Men’s Ashes Test match at the SCG, seeing England home to a draw, keeping the series alive.
“I feel like we may have got away with one a little bit there, but still we were sort of in a pretty good position to begin with, so I’m still not sure what to make of it,” Meg Lanning said, who spoke to media at stumps.
“England played extremely well, I thought Heather Knight throughout the whole Test match was incredible, Katherine Brunt as well, so it’s as good a Test match as I’ve been involved in.
“It was a lot of fun, it was up and down, I hope everybody enjoyed watching.”
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Lanning also heaped praise on Sutherland, who fought back with three wickets after conceding 16 runs in one over, including two Sophia Dunkley maximums that turned the tide England’s way.
“I think she can take a lot out of today’s performance,” she said.
“She has shown glimpses throughout her opportunities playing for Australia, and she has had a few along the way, but it’s been good for her I guess to get some continuity. In Test matches, it allows her to have that sort of longer form bowling and get into her rhythm a little bit more.
“I mean, she did not bowl badly in that over, [Sophia] Dunkley was going pretty hard at her, and that’s sort of the way the game was going.
“Throughout the whole Test match, she’s been someone who I feel like I can rely on and know what I’m going to get from her.”
Lanning backed her decision to make a bowling declaration earlier in the day, sticking firmly to the plans she entered the day with in an attempt to regain the Ashes with a victory.
She asserted that it created a wonderful spectacle for women’s Test cricket.
“We came in here with our plans,” Lanning said.
“I don’t think we can be expected to throw out scores and try and make a game of it just because we have lost a day to weather.
“We did it on our terms, we felt like it was a good score to defend, it turned out to be an incredible Test match which is what we all wanted.”
Australia now leads the Women’s Ashes series 6-4 heading into three One-Day Internationals, the first of which will take place in Canberra on the February 3.
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