Australia, widely recognized as one of the greatest teams in sporting history, merely needed to win one more match to retain The Ashes. However, they now find themselves on a three-game losing streak after previously commanding a six-point lead.
During the chase, England stumbled to 235-8 while pursuing a target of 264. It was then that Kate Cross, accompanied by skipper Heather Knight, entered the crease. Knight remained unbeaten on 75, orchestrating a stunning comeback.
Cross, who contributed an unbeaten 19 runs from the number 10 position, expressed her determination to avoid losing the game, drawing from previous experiences of witnessing England surrender The Ashes. Her valiant performance emulated that of Chris Woakes, proving that lower-order batsmen are capable of making significant contributions.
Despite acknowledging the formidable strength of the Australian team, Cross emphasized that England’s focus lies on their own game rather than Australia’s illustrious record. This approach has gradually eroded the visitors’ stranglehold on world cricket.
Cross elaborated on the team’s mindset, stating that when she went out to bat, Knight reminded her that she was facing an off-spinner, not the renowned Ash Gardner, emphasizing that facing off-spinners is a familiar routine during practice sessions. This shift in perspective has greatly benefited the team thus far.
Australia, renowned for their fielding discipline and bowling prowess, now find themselves uncharacteristically fumbling catches, conceding extras, and succumbing to England’s relentless pressure. Their inspirational leader, Meg Lanning, is absent from the team, further contributing to their uncharacteristic mistakes.
Australia’s captain, Alyssa Healy, acknowledged that The Ashes are now hanging in the balance. She believes this pivotal moment will either galvanize the team or lead to a flurry of excuses. The responsibility to reverse the tide falls squarely on Australia’s shoulders in the remaining two games.
England’s path to victory requires winning both matches, or winning one if the other is tied or washed out, thereby denying Australia the coveted Ashes urn. The team’s momentum is mirrored by the growing attendance at the series, with more than 20,000 spectators filling venues for both the T20s at Lord’s and The Oval, as well as the sold-out ODIs in Bristol, Southampton, and Taunton.
Kate Cross expressed her gratitude for the tremendous support, stating that it feels like the team has a 12th member cheering them on. The series has captured the nation’s imagination, and they eagerly anticipate more people joining in on the journey.
Former Australian player Mel Jones acknowledges the immense challenge facing Australia, particularly as they find themselves with their backs against the wall for the first time in a decade of dominance. England, observing their opposition’s current struggles, have gained the unwavering support of the crowd and the entire country, making it a daunting task for Australia to shift the dynamic during this away series.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ashes turnaround
What was the key to England’s success in The Ashes?
Kate Cross revealed that the key to England’s success in The Ashes was taking away Australia’s “aura” and focusing on their own game. By diminishing Australia’s dominance and approaching each match with a determined mindset, England was able to turn the series around.
How did England level the points-based series?
England won the first one-day international of the multi-format series by two wickets, which allowed them to level the points-based series at 6-6 with two games remaining. This victory was crucial in their quest to regain The Ashes.
How did Kate Cross contribute to England’s victory?
Kate Cross played a pivotal role in England’s victory. She arrived at the crease with skipper Heather Knight when England was in a challenging position during the chase. Cross displayed resilience and scored an unbeaten 19 runs, contributing significantly to England’s highest-ever ODI run chase.
What approach did England adopt to break down Australia’s dominance?
England focused on their own game and aimed to take away the aura surrounding the Australian team. They approached each match with a determined mindset, treating each bowler as an individual rather than getting overwhelmed by Australia’s impressive record. This approach allowed England to slowly break down Australia’s stranglehold on world cricket.
What is at stake for Australia in The Ashes series?
Australia needs to win one more match to retain The Ashes. However, they have now lost three consecutive games, which has put the series in a balanced position. The pressure is on Australia to turn their performance around in the remaining two games to secure The Ashes urn.
How has the crowd response been during The Ashes series?
The Ashes series has captured the imagination of the crowd, with growing attendance at the matches. More than 20,000 spectators attended the T20s at Lord’s and The Oval, and all three ODIs in Bristol, Southampton, and Taunton were sold out. The support from the crowd has been tremendous and has provided additional motivation for the England team.
More about Ashes turnaround
- BBC Sport: The Ashes
- BBC Sport: England beat Australia to level Ashes – relive another captivating contest
- BBC Sport: Women’s Ashes – can England regain the Ashes? Vote
- Sky Sports: Ashes 2023: England using “aura” to break Australia
- ESPN Cricinfo: England’s revival, Australia’s stumble: a tale of two ODIs