Hosts have been quick to experiment in the face of imposing Australian opponents.
Sophia Dunkley will start the batting
As England looks to embrace their role as “disruptors” and defeat Australia in the first ODI to maintain their chances of winning the Ashes series, Sophia Dunkley will start the batting. Opening batswoman Tammy Beaumont, whose 208 in the Test set a new record and which Australia won by 89 runs, was included in the England squad on Monday after being left out of the T20I leg. The 50-over format had made Emma Lamb her go-to partner, but after a spate of poor performances, including innings of 10 and 28 in the Test and 8 and 0 for England A in their one-day series against Australia A, Lamb was passed over. In an ODI against South Africa in Bristol, the site of Wednesday’s game, Dunkley got a century after moving from the middle of the order up to No. 3. The captain of England, Heather Knight, has declared that she will take on that responsibility immediately.
Sophia will start the batting, Knight announced. She moved up to three last year and excelled there. This year, she will step up to open and perform exactly like she did in the ODI team at three. We adjusted with Sophia moving up to three last year to take on the powerplay a little bit more because we want to maximize the powerplay. She is a proper batter with Sophia as well, though. She is not merely a top-level pinch-hitter. In the first T20I match against Australia, Dunkley made a half-century in a losing effort, and in the second T20I, when Danni Wyatt got 76 from 46 balls to lead England to victory, they had a crucial 57-run partnership. A 39-run opening stand led by Wyatt’s 26 from 15 balls put England on course for a 2-1 victory in that leg of the series, despite Dunkley only scoring 9 in the third T20I at Lord’s. For the ODIs, a practical Wyatt gives England a formidable alternative in the middle order. “Their partnership at Lord’s was outstanding,” Knight remarked. “I believed that the way they began, Danni in especially assuming the game, and Sophia plays that role so wonderfully for us, definitely won us the game. “She naturally scores swiftly. Therefore, she can also score big runs. She should play naturally, dismiss foul balls, and then attempt to put pressure back on the bowler—maybe not quite at the same pace she does in T20, but that’s the idea.
Alice Capsey’s 46 off just 23 balls, which ended a run of five T20Is for England in which she scored just 17 runs overall, was also essential to the victory at Lord’s. Knight said, “We want her to go and take the game on and do precisely what she did the other night. She’s hugely attacking, and she’s not always going to be Mrs. Consistent and that’s different from the role we want her to play. “She’s only 18, and her skill is tremendous, but she’ll become more consistent as she goes on. “I was pretty happy with her. She had obviously struggled a bit coming up to it and hadn’t played as well as she had hoped, so for her to come in and pull off a crucial victory is highly encouraging. Lauren Filer is back after making her international debut during the Test and taking two wickets in each inning. Her raw pace occasionally troubled the Australian batters, bowling at rates beyond 75mph/120kph. She has an excellent opportunity to play the first ODI on her home field because she plays regional cricket for Western Storm. In the middle overs, Knight stated, “Potentially, we see her as someone who can bowl quick and try and take wickets.” She is inspiring and well-versed in the area. As you can see from the Test match, she’s still somewhat raw, but her performance even astonished me. Every time she bowled, she seemed to rise to the moment and make things happen. “It seemed like something was going to happen, and that’s precisely the task we assigned to her—to run in, bowl quickly, and attempt to make a statement. That’s what she did, and if she is selected for the starting 11, that is the role we will see her playing in this ODI series. To divert Australia’s attention, England has been quick to try new things, and Knight thinks this change in attitude is starting to pay dividends. She anticipates a problematic match, though, given that Australia is now on a 15-game winning streak in ODIs and that the hosts must win all three to claim the Ashes, while their opponents only need to win one to keep them. “It’s things like picking Lauren Filer in a Test match when she’s completely unknown, just because she can bowl quickly and try to shake things up and make an impact,” Knight said. “We’re doing things differently, like using [offspiner] Charlie Dean first over [at Lord’s] just to do something that the Australians don’t expect and things we feel are tactically sound and advantageous for our team as a whole. “The mentality is perhaps the most essential factor, and to compete with an outstanding team that has achieved great success, we must maximize how we perform our tasks and disrupt what is already very successful.
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