England women target Tests after historic victory

The triumph of the England women's team at Stratford-upon-Avon on Sunday may not have had quite the same impact as the victory of Michael Vaughan's men (by exactly the same margin) at Edgbaston a fortnight earlier, but in its own context it was even more epoch-making.

While their male counterparts have enjoyed occasional successes during Australia's 16 years of Ashes domination, England's women had gone 12 years and 20 matches without a victory over their great rivals before their thrilling triumph in the third NatWest Series one-day international.

Claire Taylor's dogged innings of 82 helped England, batting first, to make 200. Australia faltered but Cathryn Fitzpatrick hit 26 from 21 deliveries before she was stumped off the fourth ball of the final over, bowled by 20-year-old Katherine Brunt. Julie Hayes was run out on the fifth and Alex Blackwell could manage only a single off the sixth, when four runs were needed for victory.

Australia, who cemented their reputation as the planet's best team by winning the World Cup earlier this year, are here to play one Twenty20 international, two Tests and five one-dayers. The second Test starts at Worcester today, the first having finished in a draw, while England's victory at Stratford kept the one-day series alive, with Australia leading 2-1.

Despite England's progress in recent years - partly a reflection of the fact that more than two million women now play the game in this country - defeat to Australia in the World Cup semi-finals four months ago seemed to show that the gap between the two countries was still sizeable.

However, Richard Bates, the coach, said that his side had built winning positions in each match this summer before Sunday's triumph. "We had Australia at 115 for 7 at the start of the first Test, but their tail wagged and they scored 355, which meant that we had to play some good cricket to save the match," he said. "Then we got them out for 222 and 193 in the one-dayers, got off to good starts and then suffered batting collapses. We knew we were closing in on Australia, but the girls had to hold their nerve.

"The Australians have had this aura, in cricket and in other sports, but we've seen this summer that they're not invincible. We've definitely benefited from the feelgood factor of the men's success."

The public have responded, too, with packed houses at the club grounds where the three recent one-day internationals have been played.

Bates is particularly pleased to have beaten Australia before the expected retirement of two cornerstones of their successful years, the opener Belinda Clark and fast bowler Fitzpatrick. "We wanted to show we could beat them with their best players still available," he said.

Two of England's team, the wicketkeeper Jane Smit and fast bowler Taylor, played in the last victory over Australia, in the 1993 World Cup, while Clare Connor, the captain, has been playing international cricket for 10 years and been England captain since 2000.

Bates has also put his faith in youth. He gave a 15-year-old, Holly Colvin, her debut in the first Test and 18-year-old Jo Watts was brought in for the one-day internationals.

Can England build on Sunday's success? "We said that if we could just win one game there would be no reason why we couldn't go on to win another," Bates said. "After that, who knows?"

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links