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Memories are made of this as we win Ashes Test

Posted in England Women

We had a rare day off on February 8, so Beth, Isa and myself decided to visit our house for the afternoon. It was nice to get away from the tour environment and it felt like a normal afternoon even if it was just for a short time.

February 9 was our last training session before our final two ODI games at the SCG. Another training session and yet another day of constant rain. I think the girls are starting to get fuming with the amount of rain they have seen whilst in Sydney.

Our fourth ODI was at the SCG, which was pretty awesome to play there as last time it rained during our State final weekend. The Aussies got off to a flyer and set us a total of 177.

We were reduced us to 37 for two, but from there we never looked back and a great partnership between Lottie and Tails saw us home with both of them making half centuries. It was brilliant for Lottie to hit the winning runs as this was her 100th game, which doesn’t happen too often in the women’s game.

So it was to our last ODI of the series and once again Lottie loss the toss and we were bowling first. Nicky Shaw bowled a fine opening spell from one end going for six runs from her eight overs.

Again they got off to a flyer but managed to pull it back and Steph Davies on her debut fought back well and ended up with figures of 4-46. They set us 210 to win.

It was only Lydia and Lottie who scored any sort of runs. We got behind the run rate and lost wickets trying to catch up. As soon as we lost Lottie for 44 and Lyd for 42 we tried but ended up losing by 50 runs and drawing the series 2-2. We were all gutted to lose as it was our best chance in years to beat Australia in their back yard but still happy at the end of the day with 2-2.

Over the ODI series we have had great support from family and friends even quite a few Aussies. But I think the highlight has to be Kath Koschel who played the trumpet at every ground and by the end she even preformed requests for us, with 'How far we’ve come' and 'You’re the voice' being my two favourites.

On February 13 we had a small road trip to Bowral for our Ashes test and looking forward to trying to retain the Ashes.

It didn’t take too long to get to Bowral, but it was nice to get down there and have a chilled out afternoon. We had a function in the evening at the Bradman Oval. It was nice to have a look at the ground and around the museum, which shows quite a lot of cricketing history.

At the time we felt and almost thought we were back in England as so many people were pommies who had moved out here and the weather was cold and wet.

On the 14th we had a new member of the squad in Katherine Brunt or Nunny as most people call her. Straight away she added something extra to the team and it’s great to have her around again after having 15 months out of the game due to injury.

On the first morning of the Test match I had a late fitness test on my neck and shoulder. I managed to bowl two balls off a short but when it came to bowling off a full run I just couldn’t do it, which meant I was out of the Ashes Test match.

For a change Lottie won the toss and we were bowling first on a damp, cloudy morning. We came out firing and Nicky and Isa bowled brilliantly as a new ball partnership and managed to pick a couple of wickets in the first session.

Isa seemed like she was on a mission on the first day and it showed when she finished with figures of 5-40. We bowled Australia out for 154 on the first day and Beth and Shaggy (Caroline Atkins) had 16 overs to face that evening and did really well against the new ball to make sure we started day two with 10 wickets still left in hand.

Jenny Gunn Team Mates

Six Aussie team-mates: Leonie Coleman, Shelly Nitschke, Karen Rolton, Emma Sampson, Kris Britt and Ellyse Perry

We went out positively on day two and even though we lost two early wickets Tails and Lottie batted brilliantly again and had a fine partnership of 159. Lottie was finally out on 96 and then Tails shortly after for 79. We had a mini collapse at the end of the day where we lost five wickets for about 35 runs but we were still ahead of the Australian total.

On day three we were bowled out early in the morning but were still 90 runs ahead of the Aussies. Isa again came out on a mission and bowled well with the new ball and picked up a couple of wickets before lunch.

The Aussies fought back well and at the end of the day Sthalekar was closing in on an Ashes century. At the start of day four it was make or break in the first session of the day. If the Aussies scored a quick fire 50 or 60 odd then we would have been chasing around 200 to win, which is quite a funny score as it gets you thinking do we go for the outright win or just try and bat out the day but both ways would have created pressure for us and may have meant we lost more wickets.

But when it came to it we managed to get a massive breakthrough in the first couple of overs when Beth had Sthalekar caught at cover for 98. I have never seen anyone celebrate as much as she did but to be fair I think if I was Beth I would have done exactly the same.

Isa continued on her little mission picking up wickets along the way and actually finished picking up four second innings wickets in the process. With nine wickets down the Aussies declared, which left us needing 142 to retain the Ashes.

We had a couple of overs before lunch, which again Shaggy and Beth batted out with ease. Straight after lunch Shaggy was got LBW but Tails and Beth got us going in the right direction again. They were going along very well until a bat pad decision went against Beth but Lydia came in and took off where Beth had finished.

She hit a couple of fours to get us within touching distance but there were still a lot of nerves on the sideline. Lyd was out requiring around 25 runs to win. Tails brought up another fine half century and once again it was quite fitting for Tails and Lottie to be out in the middle when the winning runs were hit.

We had won by six wickets and had retained the Ashes. It was a great feeling and a great team effort over the four days. Isa finished with the player of the match for her match figures of 9-100, which is a pretty good effort in itself.

I still don’t think it has quite sunk in that we beat Australia in Australia to keep the Ashes. It is quite strange that people seem know about it all though as everyone keeps saying congratulations to us everywhere we go.

We had a team photo outside the Sydney Opera House with the Ashes, which was pretty cool as it’s something I will always remember.

England Women