Heather Knight proud of England’s Ashes fightback

Captain Heather Knight declared herself “super-proud” after her England team completed a remarkable Women’s Ashes turnaround to draw the series.

England trailed 6-0 after the opening two matches of the multi-format series – the solitary Test and the T20 opener – but rallied to win four of the remaining five white-ball contests to draw 8-8.

After winning the T20 matches 2-1, England’s 69-run victory by DLS method at Taunton on Tuesday gave them a second white-ball series victory over the world’s number one side.

“To win two series against the world champions in both formats is brilliant,” Knight said.

“The Ashes had gone the other day and the disappointment came out then. But the character in the side to turn it around here was unbelievable.

“We wanted to do justice to the way we have played so far, and it was a sell-out in front of a rowdy crowd.

“We wanted to continue to entertain and play how we want to. An ODI series on the line, there’s no bigger (test of) character than that against a team we haven’t beaten in 10 years.

“There’s disappointment we haven’t got the Ashes but it’s a draw, and if you’d told me that at 6-0 down I would have bitten your hand off.”

Nat Sciver-Brunt’s second century in the space of three days – 129 on the back of an unbeaten 111 at Southampton on Sunday – laid the platform for England’s series-levelling success.

England posted a challenging score of 285 for nine from their 50 overs; Australia’s target was reduced to 269 from 44 overs after a 54-minute rain delay.

Kate Cross took three wickets and Lauren Bell and Charlie Dean two each as Australia slid to 199 all out in 35.3 overs.

“Nat is unbelievable,” said Knight. “She’s got four hundreds in five games against the best team in the world.

“We talked about staying positive and believing that we were good enough to beat this side.

“Despite losing those two games it actually grew the belief that we were as good as this Australian team and we could go toe to toe with them.

“We had to do a few little things better because we felt we were so close in that Edgbaston (T20) defeat.

“To play like we have done this summer has been hugely pleasing. The most exciting thing is that we haven’t played our best cricket, this was probably our best performance.

“I think this team has got a huge ceiling to keep improving. I don’t think there is a gap between the two sides now. We’ve won two white-ball series, I’m not sure about the gap.”

Australia captain Alyssa Healy said the tourists could take satisfaction that the Ashes were “still within our grasp”.

Alyssa Healy and the Ashes trophy
Alyssa Healy had the Ashes trophy in her hands despite the white-ball disappointment (Steven Paston/PA)

Healy said: “We didn’t get over the line in the white-ball stuff but I’m proud the way the series has unfolded.

“It’s been an amazing spectacle for cricket in general and really cool to be part of it.

“It’s no secret we haven’t played our best throughout the entire series.

“England played really well and that’s not diminishing what they’ve achieved, we’ve not. We’ll sit back now and see what’s not quite gone well for us.

“In the long run it might do us good to have those reflections and know that we can be better.”