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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Pa Sport Staff

England must keep improving in Ashes despite victory ‘a long time coming’

PA Wire

Sarah Glenn said there was still room for improvement after England cricket defeated Australia cricket by three runs in a thrilling finale at the Kia Oval to keep alive their hopes of regaining the Ashes.

Danni Wyatt hit 76 with the bat as the hosts racked up a first-innings lead of 186 to leave the tourists with a target that proved just out of reach, despite a brilliant late flourish from Ellyse Perry who hit sixes off the final two balls.

Both sides suffered from collapses midway through their innings with England losing four wickets in 13 deliveries before Sophie Ecclestone smashed 22 from 12 balls to ensure a strong finish.

Australia’s middle order fared little better as they found themselves requiring 112 from their final 10 overs to secure the victory that would have sealed the series.

Glenn admitted that emotions were running high after her side inflicted Australia’s first loss in any format since 2021, but said improvement was still required if they are to find the four wins still needed to reclaim the Ashes.

“So many emotions, really happy, some of us are a bit emotional as it’s been a long time coming,” said Glenn. “We’ve had lots of really close calls and we’ve always known we can beat them as well.

“It’s just actually getting over the line against a top line-up who have had momentum for a long time, so we’re really proud.

“We’ve taken out that frustration and little things we could work on and implement it into this game which I thought we did really well.

“There’s still room for improvement as always, but we were really clear in the pressure moments.”

England still need to win the final T20 international at Lord’s on Saturday before attentions turn to the three ODIs that will conclude the series.

Defeat in the Test at Trent Bridge plus last Saturday’s four-wicket T20 loss at Edgbaston means nothing short of a perfect record will do in spite of the heroics at the Oval.

“We’re just really humble as a team,” said Glenn. “We really enjoy that victory for each wicket but we really switch on quickly to what we need to do next. That’s what we’ve done really well as a unit with the bat and the ball.

“We’re really confident. It’s super exciting, we really improved from the last game but there’s still a lot to come from us as well.

“We’ll celebrate the win definitely, but they’re a top-class side and they’ll come back just as hard or harder. We need to try and get over the line again and keep that momentum with us.”

Australia’s Alyssa Healy reflected on a success for women’s cricket after a crowd of 20,000 packed into the Oval for the occasion, but said her side had only themselves to blame for allowing England back into the game.

“It was a great game of cricket at one of the most iconic grounds in England, what a great showcase for women’s sport,” said Healy. “You see what you can do when you play on a good ground with a good wicket, people want to turn up and watch.

“We were slightly off in every facet of the game. We mentioned it after the last game and we were probably a little bit worse again tonight.

“We didn’t quite execute with the ball and probably let them back in at the back end. With the bat we probably had a little bit of a handbrake on at times and and couldn’t get ourselves going.”

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