The grim trial of strength that went mainstream: women’s Test cricket

Before the Australian women’s cricket team played their touring England counterparts in Brisbane in December 1934, the following directive appeared in the Courier Mail:

Excerpt Courier Mail 28 Dec 1934
“The word “test” must not be applied to any of these games, for both the Australian council and the English team refuse to associate with the games any suggestion of the grim trial of strength which the term applies.”

 

No one in the press or elsewhere paid any attention to this instruction, and the first women’s Test match concluded at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground on New Year’s Eve 1934, the visiting English winning by nine wickets.

It’s taken 83 years for Australia and England to come together for their 49th women’s Test (plus one washed out), and their four-day meeting at North Sydney Oval beginning on Thursday 9 November 2017 was a special occasion as the first to be played as a day-night fixture. Continue reading “The grim trial of strength that went mainstream: women’s Test cricket”

A bit of light reading about the 1999-2000 England womens tour

England’s women’s cricket team headed to the Antipodes in January 2000 to play one-day internationals in Australia and New Zealand. By the time they were ready to head east across the Tasman, England had lost the ODI series to Australia 0-4 and Karen Smithies had resigned as captain.

Working for Cricinfo at the time I covered every ODI of the Australian leg of the tour, and I believe I have the only comprehensive documentation of these games. Continue reading “A bit of light reading about the 1999-2000 England womens tour”

2015: A year in cricket (or at least the start of it)

January 1, Kirribilli House, Sydney. Two of these three men still had their job at the end of the year:

Now we have the entire Australian eleven in shot. #AusvInd #Cricket

A photo posted by Rick Eyre (@rickeyre) on

While you sleep, I train. While you eat, I train. While you party, I train. February 21 is my goal!

A photo posted by Michael Clarke (@michaelclarkeofficial) on

Richie Benaud 1930-2015

Richie Benaud, 1930–2015: Cricketing legend, broadcasting giant, cultural icon

My full obituary for Richie Benaud is published at Medium.

The Big Bash, And Juggling Cricket’s Three Formats

What started as a midsummer diversion in the English cricket season of 2003 became a multi-million dollar enterprise in India in 2008, and now almost every Test playing nation has its own professional Twenty20 competition, squeezed into their domestic program.

The 2011-12 season saw the transformation of Australia’s state-based “Big Bash” competition into the franchise-based Big Bash League. Continue reading “The Big Bash, And Juggling Cricket’s Three Formats”

Twenty21 revisited

If we didn’t know before, we do now. Australia’s 5-0 drubbing of England in 2006-07 is the first such triumph since 1920-21. But which was the bigger achievement? Continue reading “Twenty21 revisited”

Essex takes revenge for 1948

Essex v Australia, Chelmsford, 3-4 September 2005
Stumps Day One

Essex First innings  				Runs  	Balls  	4s  	6s
WI Jefferson 			b MS Kasprowicz 64 	73 	10 	1
AN Cook 	c JN Gillespie 	b MS Kasprowicz 214 	238 	33 	1
RS Bopara 			b SW Tait 	135 	220 	17 	2
ML Pettini 	c ML Hayden 	b SW Tait 	8 	16 	1 	0
+JS Foster 		not out 		38 	61 	0 	0
JD Middlebrook 		not out 		26 	30 	0 	0
Extras 	(b 4, lb 5, nb 8, w 0) 	17
Total for 4 wkt 	(105 overs) 	502 	 
	
Bowling  	Overs  	Maidens  Runs  	Wickets  Extras
B Lee 		13 	0 	69 	0 	-
JN Gillespie 	22 	3 	80 	0 	-
SW Tait 	15 	1 	72 	2 	-
SCG MacGill 	24 	0 	128 	0 	-
MS Kasprowicz 	19 	2 	85 	2 	-
BJ Hodge 	12 	1 	59 	0

Continue reading “Essex takes revenge for 1948”

A great English victory beckons

Something I thought I would never see, well not in this decade anyway, appears to be unfolding at New Road, Worcester, today.

It’s lunch on Day Three of the Second Women’s Test between England and Australia. The visitors made 131 in their first innings. England, after being 227 for 9 at the close of the second day, advanced to 289 all out. Australia faced sixteen overs before lunch. They are currently 13 for 3. Continue reading “A great English victory beckons”

Worcester Test Day One

Nothing will stop me from cursing the England and Wales Cricket Board for their counterproductive policy of scheduling women’s tours simultaneously with the men. There’s an important, indeed, sudden-death women’s Test match going on at New Road, Worcester which is being totally eclipsed for media attention by the most riveting men’s Ashes series in almost a quarter of a century. Continue reading “Worcester Test Day One”

Old enough to bowl, too young to talk

Cathryn Fitzpatrick had already held her 21st birthday party when Holly Colvin was born. Not turning sixteen till September 7, Colvin became the youngest Test cricketer for the English women on Tuesday. She paid dividends for England by taking three wickets on the opening day of the Hove Test against Australia – Kate Blackwell, Julia Price and Fitzpatrick – but at day’s end was not allowed to talk to the media. Continue reading “Old enough to bowl, too young to talk”