Across all the England cricket teams that have visited Australia this season they are currently 13-0 down with one match, the final ODI of the multi-format women’s Ashes, left to play.
It has been a season of batting collapses for the visiting sides, the latest of which on Sunday saw Australia win the Ashes at a canter in Melbourne. Heading into the ODI World Cup in New Zealand it is a concern for Heather Knight
England twice had it within their grasp to keep the series alive but fluffed their lines: they lost 6 for 26 in the second innings of a one-day style chase in the Test match
, having played outstandingly to engineer a winning position, and in the first ODI could not hunt down 206
albeit on a tricky surface in Canberra.
On Sunday, they produced their worst batting display of the tour as they subsided to 129 all out
on what, again, was a pitch with some assistance but as Ellyse Perry later showed was possible to overcome with application.
Earlier in the tour, there were caveats after a very difficult build-up, then two of the T20Is being washed out, but as Knight noted after the ODI loss in Canberra the team has had long enough to shake off the rust now.
“One of our top five or six needs to take responsibility a bit more often and make sure you are there at the end of the innings,” Nat Sciver said on Sunday.
noted how batting conditions throughout the Australian summer have been tricky, but one of England’s better performances – in the first T20I
in Adelaide – was not enough as the home side won with three overs to spare and Australia’s batters have been able to find a way in the first two ODIs.
“The wickets here have been really conducive to seam bowling all summer,” Healy said. “Hasn’t felt like we’ve had a real flat track. The most pleasing thing for me personally has been getting ourselves out of a corner.
“We’ve won games that we haven’t looked like we’ve been able to win…so the fact we are able to fight and scrap and work our way back into fixtures to win games with our backs against the wall has been really impressive. Leading into a World Cup it’s hugely important and will give us great confidence knowing that we can back our skills under pressure.”
There were concerns about England’s batting raised at the end of the last home season
when they were twice bowled out for under 200 against New Zealand although they rebounded to finish the series with 347 for 5. But there remain holes in the order. In 11 innings since the start of last year, Lauren Winfield-Hill
is averaging 25.63 and has not reached fifty in ODIs since 2016. Wicketkeeper Amy Jones
, while a useful contributor in the middle order, averages 27.40 since the start of 2021
. The fact Sophie Ecclestone has twice shown up some of the top order is not ideal.
There were also batting problems for the England A side in their concurrent series against Australia A with them bowled out in all three matches for 219, 132 and 211
So while the Ashes have been lost, the final ODI shapes as an important match for England as they try to find some batting confidence although with the game being played on the same pitch at Junction Oval that may not be easy. It’s also the last chance for an England cricket team to secure a victory this season.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo