Heather Knight wants rain days in Women’s Ashes as second T20 washout hurts England’s chances

It is not the first time that Knight has called for five-day Test matches; after a frustrating draw against India last summer, Knight expressed similar sentiments. “Five-day Tests could maybe be the way forward,” Knight told BBC Sport at the time. “So many games have ended in draws and a little bit of rain and slow play didn’t help our cause. I think if there was another day, what a finish that would have been.”

Since the turn of the century, England’s women have played just 24 Tests, 13 of which have ended in draws. England have won just four of them and with Australia having not lost a Test match since 2014, when England last held the Ashes, forcing a result in Canberra will be a battle.

“It’s been a very frustrating couple of days,” conceded Knight, after England went 2-0 down in the series following a high-scoring defeat in Thursday’s first T20. “We didn’t get a chance to get back in the series with the two games. We were going to go into [the Test] looking to win it anyway but I think we are going to have to look at how best we can win it. With Test match cricket you have to also earn the right to win it as well. So, it’s finding the right approach that we think is going to win us the game.

“We get down to Canberra with two days preparation which obviously isn’t ideal but it’s more about getting ready mentally for us as a group. We’ll have a really clear plan, we’ll have a sit down as a group and try and work out the best strategy to try and win the game and take those four points. Because while it’s frustrating that we haven’t been able to play these two games, if we can get a win in that Test match that puts us into a really strong position going into the ODIs.”

The effect of rain on the women’s game is particularly cruel owing to the far fewer opportunities they are granted to play. While the men’s international calendar is over-congested, for the women, they often go long periods of time with no cricket at all before short bursts of intense fixtures. This was the case with England’s women leading into this series, who played no competitive cricket for four months before the first T20I on Thursday. When it impacts a Test match, the effect is even worse; in the last decade England have only played seven Tests.

Still, Knight was relatively sanguine about what was within her and her team’s control, and what was not. “Humour generally helps quite a lot,” said Knight, when asked how England try and make the best of a situation. “Although I find it quite hard when a lot of Australians keep telling us that we must have brought the weather with us!”

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