Women's Ashes: Aussie skipper Lanning draws flak for not forcing a result, defends strategy

Australia did not declare and allow England to chase a total for a result. This tactic has been widely criticised but both teams have come out defending the course of play.

Meg Lanning

Australian skipper Meg Lanning   -  Getty Images

Australia captain Meg Lanning has defended her team’s tactics as the one-off Ashes Test ended in a dull draw, saying the match had got to a point where Australia “couldn’t win the game”.

On Sunday, Australia retained the urn after the only Test of the 2019’s Women’s Ashes ended in a draw since none of the teams were able to force the pace on Day Four.

After passing on the follow-on score of 271 after Australia’s first innings of 420 for 8, England declared, handing the visitors with a lead of 145 and looked to move the game along, with 81 overs left in the day.

Yet by tea, Australia - who was 280 runs ahead with 41 overs remaining - didn’t give any indication that it would declare and attempt to bowl England out for the win.

READ : Ashes joy for Australia women

When the captains shook hands, Australia had motored along to 230/7, with the overall lead standing at 375.

It was this manner in which the Test ended in a draw that frustrated the observers and questioning the tactics of Australia.

Lanning defended the move, saying there were several considerations that went behind the decision.

“We thought about (declaring) and had a good chat about what our options were, and whether we could force a result,” the ICC website quoted Lanning as saying after the match, “but we looked at how many overs were left, especially given how many wickets were falling.

“Test cricket’s supposed to be hard and a tough battle, and I think that’s exactly what it was. Both teams were trying to get an advantage. I don’t think it was entirely either team’s fault where we ended up in the game.

“At different points, we were trying to win it; we just lost time throughout and it got to a point where we felt we couldn’t win the game,” she added.

England coach Mark Robinson refused to question Australia’s approach, saying it was well within its rights to try and save the Test.

READ : Perry takes seven wickets as Australia thrashes England

“We lost two sessions (to rain), which makes it really hard, doesn’t it?” he said.

“They’re quite within their rights to close up shop and shut the game down and retain them. Fair play to them. We’ve got to congratulate Australia. They’ve played better cricket than us and they’re the holders of the Ashes again. To Meg, who is an outstanding leader, you say ‘well done’,” he added.

Australia has shared points with England after a rain-affected Test, which leaves its overall series lead at 8-2, thanks to its 3-0 win in the ODI series that preceded.

England can, at best, draw level on points with Australia from here on, and that is if it wins all three matches in the upcoming T20I series beginning Friday.

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