England all-rounder Nat Sciver was full of praise for the efforts of her teammates in the thrilling Ashes draw with Australia, but admits that she ran the whole emotional gamut in the tense final exchanges.
“That’s Test match cricket. It can be very emotionally draining and tiring. Unfortunately I feel more sad than I do soothed at the minute,” she said post-stumps.
England was still pushing for victory until very late on the final day, building through Sciver, Heather Knight and Sophia Dunkley.
But as Australia’s bowling attack, led by Annabel Sutherland and Alana King, answered back, it began to fall apart. Sciver kept the faith until the very last ball.
“We got into a great position but couldn’t quite get over the line,” she admitted.
“Up until it was Sophie [Ecclestone] and Crossy [Kate Cross] in at the end we were still thinking about [the win]. It was only, like, a run a ball.”
Sciver spoke glowingly about Dunkley after her cameo of 45 off 32 balls put England into a position where, with nine overs left, it looked the most likely to emerge victorious.
“She was very up for it, she was in a zone,” Sciver said.
“When you’re out there you feel you have to get a boundary quite often, but in the end singles, twos and the odd boundary here and there would have got us there.
“But when you’re out there in that mindset it’s very difficult to get out of it.
“She’s very special. She has days when she’s like that. She has other days when she can’t quite get herself going, but to have that at the other end when I’m feeling the pressure myself is great.”
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Player of the Match Heather Knight was on the field for all but an hour of the game, finishing with 216 runs for only once out, and doing everything within her power to clinch the victory for England.
“I don’t know if she was lying to the other interviewers, but she’s got to be tired!” Sciver laughed.
“She’s very special. Batting with her in Ashes Test matches is something I look forward to.
“Just to see that grit and determination to get her team into a good position – I mean she continued the positivity in the batting into the second innings, so to follow that is something special. She’s a great leader.”
“I was enjoying myself out there. That’s the strange thing about Test matches.
“One day you can be out there struggling to get off strike and the next day you’re looking a lot bigger; seeing where you can get boundaries and knowing something different can be around the corner, that’s what makes Test matches so special.”
A late flurry of wickets saw England lose six wickets for just 26 runs, turning a probable win into a battle in the last two overs just to secure the draw. Sciver bemoaned the lack of experience that plagued the end of the run chase.
“With the little amount of test cricket that we play there’s always going to be some players that are a bit inexperienced. There’s going to be pressure in any format that you play,” she said.
“We were still positive; still going for it, still trying to get over the line. So that’s the pressure of trying to win.”
There’s a growing call for there to be more Test matches in women’s cricket, and by extension, more red ball cricket at domestic level.
Fans are campaigning hard for Tests to be extended to five days – giving the women more opportunity to play for results.
“We’ve had a lot of draws recently – it comes down to the ball and the wicket really,” Sciver said.
“That wicket was a brilliant wicket to get a result and both teams, as the game went on, were looking for that result. That, in itself, is what makes Test match cricket so special. It was a great advert for it.”
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