Just 4.1 overs were played in the second and third games in Adelaide after Australia largely chased England’s tally in the opener.

Heather Knight backed the introduction of reserve days into the Women’s Ashes calendar, as well as reaffirming her call for five-day testing, in light of the bad weather that destroyed the T20 leg of the series.

Just 4.1 overs were played in the second and third games in Adelaide after Australia largely chased England’s tally in the opener.

“I think reserve days in the Ashes and World Cups would be very helpful,” said Knight, whose last visit to Australia – for the 2020 T20 World Cup – was also affected by the rain, with a controversial semi-final washout ending their tournament due to a lack of contingency options in playing conditions.

“It would be helpful if they could work on it, and potentially a five-day test match would make things better for everyone – the players, the viewers – and ensure you don’t miss the contest you want to see.

“In a hotly contested series that could be tight, you don’t want the weather to be the main story, do you? I’d be open to looking at different things.”

Since the white ball strands were introduced as part of the multi-format overhaul ahead of the 2013 England series, there had never been a draw in a Women’s Ashes limited game until this week.


For the second day in a row Adelaide rain prevented a result (Kelly Barnes/Getty Images)

Ironically, the series wasn’t even supposed to have started, only for it to be brought forward to just over a fortnight ago to allow both teams to enter New Zealand for a 10-day quarantine period. before the World Cup. Given these strict regulations, it is unlikely that much could have been done differently on this occasion. England fly to New Zealand almost immediately after the conclusion of the ODI final against Australia.

Before the late schedule change, which threw away both teams’ preparations, the test match was to serve as a curtain raiser. But given the equation after three T20s and “a very frustrating few days,” it took on added meaning. The risky predictions for Canberra, however, will add to those earlier frustrations, especially given the work that has gone into getting this series going.

“I’ve been pretty clear that when you play Test matches so infrequently, it should take at least five days,” Knight said. “But next week’s test will obviously be four. If we lose a day of rain – or even half a day – [we’ve seen] how difficult it is in previous Test matches to force a result.”

Australia, who hold a 4-2 lead, know a victory in the single Test at Manuka Oval will see Meg Lanning’s side retain the trophy, while even a draw would mean the tourists could not win the series than by shutting out their hosts in the ODIs – a format in which they had gone 26 games unbeaten before losing to India earlier this season.

The importance of forcing a win is therefore clear, and England will have two days to prepare once their charter flight lands on Monday. Kate Cross and Lauren Winfield-Hill, neither of whom were involved during T20s, explicitly focused on their red ball skills in practice, making both shoo-ins for the selection.

Knight and Lisa Keightley have both spoken in the build-up to the series about how fixture changes have muddied the waters for their setters’ bowling charges, given the need to focus on white ball skills while still simultaneously developing their endurance in front of the four games of the day. Bad weather made this challenge even greater.


England were knocked out of the T20 World Cup two years ago due to a washout and missing a reserve day (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Nonetheless, Knight is still optimistic about England’s chances and she refused to make excuses.

“You can see it two ways,” she said. “You can piss and moan about it and get frustrated and let it get to you, or you can try to accept that it’s not in your control and just try to move on and make the most of what’s not. wasn’t ideal. I really encourage the girls to take the second option because the first is not going to help us in Canberra.

“There is no point in being negative about it and feeling the frustration of the last few days. There is literally nothing we can do about it, so we have to make the best of a bad situation and the cards that have been dealt to us. .

“It’s been a very strange Ashes series before it even started, to be honest. The rain hasn’t been ideal, but we knew things were going to be thrown at us. A lot of the preparation we did in this block in Loughborough was trying to be bombproof as a group and trying to adapt to whatever was going on.

“We knew a lot of things would change with Covid – we didn’t really factor in the weather too much, but that falls into the same category of things that could hit us and throw us off. Making sure we stay focused on unexpected events is something we’ve talked about.”

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