England women reject Mott's Ashes criticism

‘We made sure they didn’t get a sniff’ – Knight (0:52)

England captain Heather Knight, who scored an unbeaten 70, was happy the batsmen managed to dig out a draw on the final day in Sydney (0:52)

England have rejected the contention of Australia’s coach Matthew Mott that only one team went into the women’s Ashes Test match with genuine intent to win it.

While the England coach Mark Robinson and the captain Heather Knight kept their counsel on the eve of a tour match against the Governor General’s XI in Sydney ahead of the final Twenty20 leg of the series, spin bowler Danielle Hazell was adamant that the visitors were very much of the mindset that they were trying to win the Test at North Sydney Oval.

Mott had argued that England’s scoring rate on day one of the match, having won the toss and batted on a pristine surface, had been slow enough to suggest they were more interested in averting a defeat that would have handed the Ashes to Australia with three T20 matches remaining. Hazell said that England’s approach was to treat the T20s – all of which they must win in order to wrest the urn from Australia – as a trio of knockout matches. As World Cup winners this year, it is a neat idea.

“No, any game of cricket you turn up to you want to win,” Hazell said when asked whether England had been mainly concerned with keeping the series alive. “We’re very clear that that’s what you need to do in the game, whether it’s a Test match, a one-dayer or a T20, whatever game you’re playing you come out there to win and the series has set itself up this way and it’s all we have to do now.

“He [Mott] is entitled to his opinion, that’s the way he viewed the game and that’s what he thought happened. We came out of the game with a draw, we know now exactly what we have to do, it’s a quarter-final, a semi-final and a final for us and we need to go out there and perform really well.”

The Australian opener Nicole Bolton said Mott’s remarks were indicative of two opposing sides who were not particularly friendly. “I think that’s part and parcel of an Ashes series, it wouldn’t be the Ashes without a bit of a slanging match,” she said. “There’s no love lost between these two teams, we fight really hard, we play a really hard brand of cricket, so it just goes to show how important these T20 games are in the context of where the series is at.”

Bolton, who will lead the Governor General’s XI against the English tourists but was not chosen in the Australian T20 squad, said adjustment from one format to the other would be the trickiest part of the series’ final round. “The way this series is formatted is quite tricky,” she said. “The good thing is I think both sides play a lot of limited-overs cricket.

“That adjustment into 20 overs will be different coming off a Test match, where I think some of our scoring rates weren’t even 50, but both sides have got such quality batters that anyone can take the game away so it’ll be really interesting to see who steps up.”

Australia have lost the services of the young fast bowler Lauren Cheatle, who pulled up sore ahead of the Test match. And though she was rested for it, her back has not healed enough to be included in the team for the T20s.

“Lauren’s had to go and get some scans and they’re waiting on those results, but to have a young fast bowler go down like that it is disheartening,” Bolton said. “I know she’s put in such a lot of work to get herself back in a position to bowl for Australia, so she’ll be sorely missed.”

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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