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England put Ashes disappointment to one side as T20 matches beckon

A drawn Test in Taunton meant Australia retained the trophy.

Heather Knight could not inspire England to victory over Australia in the only Test match of the Women’s Ashes series (Nick Potts/PA)
Heather Knight could not inspire England to victory over Australia in the only Test match of the Women’s Ashes series (Nick Potts/PA)

England captain Heather Knight insists the team must treat the remainder of the Women’s Ashes as a “separate series” after Australia retained the trophy following a drawn Test at Taunton.

The only Test match in the series ended without a result as the visitors chose to bat out the afternoon, England having avoided the follow-on and declared on 275 for nine earlier on Sunday.

But Knight’s side were unable to take the necessary wickets needed to bat again as Ellyse Perry starred for Australia, reaching 76 not out, with captain Meg Lanning deciding not to set England a fourth-innings target.

Australia now lead 8-2 in the series across multiple formats and, as holders, will retain the Ashes even if England win the three remaining Twenty20 matches to take six points.

Although winning the series is now out of the question for the hosts, Knight wants to see England finish with a flourish.

“I think they’ve outplayed us, so congratulations to them,” she told Sky Sports.

I think they’ve outplayed us, so congratulations to them. England captain Heather Knight

“We’ve got a lot of resilience in that team and unfortunately the game was probably gone, it was little bit too much to ask.

“We’re disappointed losing the Ashes but now we’ve got to treat this T20 series as a separate series. It’s three games to show what we can do.

“We haven’t given a good account of ourselves and played to the standards we know we can play to.”

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Australia captain Meg Lanning hit 21 runs in the second innings to add to her half-century earlier in the Test (Simon Galloway/PA)

England started the day on 199 for six chasing Australia’s 420 for eight declared, but their battle was dealt a blow early on when Anya Shrubsole was stumped for 11 after being beaten by Sophie Molineux, who claimed her fourth wicket of the match.

With 19 needed to avoid the follow-on, Nat Sciver played on off the bowling of Jess Jonassen for 88 before Laura Marsh and Sophie Ecclestone combined in a ninth-wicket partnership which saw England over the line.

After passing the follow-on, Knight immediately decided to declare, with her side trailing the Australians by 145 runs.

Australia then ended the final day on 230 for seven, Lanning adding 21 having struck a half-century in the first innings.

She praised the tourists for handling any pressure moments and making sure they would return home with the trophy at the end of the series.

“We’ve got a really even group and a lot of different contributors, people stepping up at different times,” she said.

“I think there have been a lot of high pressure moments during this series and we’ve been able to come out on top of those.

“It’s been a lot closer than the scoreboard suggests and we know the T20’s going to be a close-run thing, so we’re looking forward to that.”

PA

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