The Southern Stars may have held on for a tight draw on the final day’s play in their test match against India, but Aussie coach Matthew Mott believes everyone could’ve benefited with an additional 120 overs of cricket.
Speaking post-match after Aussie batters Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry defended out a draw that maintained the host nation’s 6-4 lead in the multi-format series, Mott was quick to suggest the inclusion of five-day test cricket was necessary in the women’s game.
“The last couple of tests we’ve lost a full day of cricket, so you’re essentially playing a three-day game on a surface that doesn’t have any wear and tear, which is difficult,” he said.
“I think if this game had gone another day, we would’ve seen a very good test match.”
Many agreed after the exciting draw, with social media comments quick to point out the benefits that an extra day could’ve had on both sides.
For India, who assumed pole position early on in the match and always looked in front, they would’ve gained more time to try and bowl Australia’s vaunted batting line-up out and secure a series-defining victory.
For the Southern Stars, the ability to change tactics and play more aggressively with the knowledge a result was still likely could’ve given them an unlikely shot at winning.
If the Aussies had been able to have more time to make their move, Mott believes the Southern Stars could’ve forced a result either way.
“The pressure was in the back of our minds, we wanted to play the game in the right spirit, as did India,” he said.
“If there was more time in the game, we definitely would’ve tried to set up something where both teams had a chance to win or lose the game.
“A little bit more time in the game would certainly help everyone. I think if you’re going to devote that time to it, I don’t think it’s a lot to ask for one extra day.”
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But the additional fifth day wasn’t the only idea the Aussie coach had to improve women’s test match cricket, which is still rarely played compared to the one-day international and Twenty20 series that are often played.
With multi-format series often placing the most emphasis in terms of points on the test match (this Australia/India test match was worth four points), sides can be hesitant to take a risk in the longer form if losing ruins their chances of claiming the overall series.
“I think in women’s cricket we get judged more on the number of draws,” Mott said.
“Maybe going back to two points per test match is better, so that there’s less to lose and we can see more of a spectacle.”
Yet it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Mott, who was ardent in stating that “definitely going forward the pink ball is a great concept”, despite India’s bowlers looking a class above with the pink ball in hand.
The emotion showed by Australia’s four test debutants upon receiving their baggy green caps was enough to convince the Aussie coach of the importance that test match cricket has for women’s cricketers.
“I always think back to the cap presentations and we’re selling a dream for young girls and that baggy green, you saw the smiles on those four people’s face,” Mott said.
“We don’t play a lot of it but I think if you can keep it where it is so special for those players, then it has great value in our game.”
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