Five things we learned from England Women’s successful summer
England Women finished their summer with two series wins against India and New Zealand, with just four defeats in 14 white-ball matches.
Heather Knight’s team’s season started with a Test match against India in a multi-format series which mirrored that which will be used for the women’s Ashes in Australia this winter.
England sealed victory against India in the final T20 international of the series before the players took part in the inaugural Hundred competition.
A three-match T20 series against New Zealand followed, with England winning 2-1, before the summer was brought to an end by five ODIs with the Kiwis, in which the home side sealed a 4-1 win.
Here the PA news agency takes a look at what we’ve learned from the England Women’s cricketing summer.
The impact of professionalisation
Tash Farrant was arguably the first to fully benefit from the full-time contracts which were announced last summer, which led to an England recall over the winter in New Zealand, but more are likely to follow. There has been a belief that the gap between domestic and international cricket was too big with players struggling after a call-up, but the domestic standard has improved and the Hundred only adds to the professionalisation of the sport.
There is a bright future ahead
The inaugural Hundred competition gave the spotlight and TV coverage to a new generation of cricketers, some of whom went on to make their England debuts. Duo Charlie Dean and Maia Bouchier had impressive domestic summers in the Hundred and the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, and both were awarded with England call-ups, while 16-year-old Alice Capsey has also already been talked about ahead of the winter after impressing in the Hundred.
Women’s Test cricket could continue to grow
England took on India in a multi-format series, including a Test match – the first time they have played a home Test outside of the Ashes for seven years. Knight said at the time the game was a brilliant advert for the format after it ended in a close-fought draw, and questions were raised about the possibility of five-day matches. It was the start of the emergence of Sophia Dunkley, with a crucial 74 on debut, and she continued to grow throughout the summer.
England will be looking to defend their 2017 World Cup title in New Zealand, but have not looked a dominant force consistently this summer. Despite boasting two series wins, Knight’s side have been bowled out in five of the six ODIs where they have batted first. Kate Cross has brought 15 wickets in seven ODIs this summer, but previous World Cup hero Anya Shrubsole has struggled for consistency and has been in and out of the side.
Can it be sustained?
England head coach Lisa Keightley said after the final match of the summer that the players need a break after their busiest summer ever, and Katherine Brunt has missed matches as the side look to manage her workload. It was more than the women’s players have been accustomed to previously but a far cry from the workload of their male counterparts and England will have to learn to adapt ahead of a winter which includes the Ashes and a World Cup.
Lancashire sign New Zealand pair Daryl Mitchell and Colin de Grandhomme
The all-rounders will be available to play in the LV= Insurance County Championship and Vitality T20 Blast throughout the season.
Jos Buttler admits he needs to find his rhythm as England lose to South Africa
The hosts won the second ODI by five wickets to clinch the series in Bloemfontein.
Temba Bavuma hits hundred as South Africa secure ODI series win over England
The Proteas chased down 343 at Bloemfontein to go 2-0 up in the three-match series.
Jos Buttler and Harry Brook give England hope of levelling ODI series
England reached 342 for seven against South Africa, with Buttler making 94 and Brook 80.
Jason Roy was never ready to ‘roll over’ despite year of setbacks and low points
Roy has for so long been England’s pacesetter at the top of the order but lost his place in the side.
England batter Jason Roy emotional after return to form in South Africa defeat
Roy’s slump with the bat led to him being dropped ahead of England’s T20 World Cup-winning campaign last year.
Jofra Archer will ‘get better and better’ but England batting needs more bite
Archer took one for 81 on a hot and sunny afternoon in Bloemfontein.
England beaten by South Africa in first ODI despite blistering Jason Roy century
Roy scored 113 off just 91 balls but South Africa ran out winners by 27 runs.
England reach Women’s Under-19 T20 World Cup final after winning thriller
With Australia 96 for nine chasing 100, the England captain trapped Maggie Clark lbw to send her side through to face India in the final.
Jofra Archer toils for little reward as South Africa set England 299 to win ODI
Archer believes he is at about “80 per cent” fitness so some rust was inevitable.