Australia’s coach Matthew Mott has criticised England’s approach to the inaugural day-night women’s Test match, questioning whether the visitors ever had genuine intentions of trying to win after they showed little willingness to take the game on after opting to bat first on a pristine North Sydney Oval pitch.
In a result that left the multi-format Ashes series open leading into the final Twenty20 leg – England must win all three matches to prevail – Australia were unable to force victory on the final day after Ellyse Perry‘s epic double century had built up a big first-innings lead. However, Mott was dubious about England’s first-innings approach, soaking up 116 overs to make 280 before the hosts tallied 448 from only another 50 overs.
“I think both teams have got to be honest about whether they were trying to win the Test match,” Mott said in Sydney. “To bat with pretty minimal intent on day one when you get the best of the conditions, I think if you’re going to sit back and say you’re trying to win the Test is not in my realms of thinking.
“We certainly would’ve been disappointed with that scoring rate on day one. That slowed the whole Test match up and made it difficult to get 20 wickets for both teams. I thought it was a monumental effort for us to bowl them out for 280 given they won the toss and batted first on that wicket.
“We were really pleased with that, but I suppose that backed us into a bit of a corner with the game taking a slow path, that we had to bat big in that first innings and get right ahead and roll the dice that we could get 10 wickets and not have to bat again. It certainly wasn’t the way we wanted to play the Test but I’m pretty sure if there was maybe a bit more grass on day one and two, got the first innings through a bit quicker, that we might have seen that result.”
England’s coach Mark Robinson argued the issue was more to do with the type of pitch prepared for the match, which lacked the grass to be exploited by the seamers early in the match and then dried out into a slow and low surface where sharp spin was about the only assistance on offer.
“Ultimately we want to play on better wickets … the biggest disappointment is it wasn’t a fresh wicket, which I don’t get for this one-off Test, pink ball and we haven’t got a fresh wicket,” he said. “You’ve got a young leg spinner [Amanda Wellington], she needs bounce. You’ve got Perry, [Katherine] Brunt, I take my hat off to [Megan] Schutt, all of them, they run in hard and then sometimes you want them to deserve better.
“I sat on the edge [of my seat] yesterday unfortunately having to watch Ellyse Perry relentlessly go on in her quest of excellence, which it was, and I actually felt like I was in something special again and it reminded me of the day at Lord’s [the World Cup final]. It was a special day to have nearly 4000 there for a pink-ball Test match to watch a player relentlessly go on.
“Yes we’ll talk about the wicket and we should play on better wickets but hopefully that’ll show the ICC and a lot of other people that there is an appetite for Test match cricket. We’ve got to understand our product don’t we, we’ve got to entertain people. We want all of these 12,000 to come back.”
Source: ESPN Crickinfo