England v Australia
Edgbaston, Birmingham: 3rd – 5th July 1976
Rachael Heyhoe Flint won the toss for the second time in concession but this time decided to bat in the second Test at Edgbaston.
Conditions were good for the quick bowlers but England dug in, keeping the Australian opening bowlers Sharon Tredrea and Raelee Thompson at bay, scoring slowly but steadily. Lynne Thomas was the first to fall, with 52, with the score at 116 – it wasn’t a bowler’s wicket – she had to be runout, but that wicket did start the rot. Anne Gordon then removed Enid Bakewell for 75, and despite Heyhoe Flint’s 49, wickets tumbled steadily, England declaring 9 down for 242 – a far cry from 0/116. Lack of assistance from the wicket didn’t mean lack of heart from the quicks, with both Tredrea and Thompson the stars with the ball, backed up well by the spinner Marie Lutschini.Embed from Getty Images
“I liked bowling in England, you got just reward for good bowling and just deserts for bad bowling. I particularly liked it (as did Raelee) as we both swung and cut the ball.” – Sharon Tredrea
Day two belonged to opener Marg Jennings, who underpinned the Australian innings with 104, her debut Test century and the first ever by an Australian wicket keeper. She was ironically out stumped by her opposite number, Shirley Hodges. Cameos from Hills, Lumsden and Gordon took the Aussie total to 236 when Gordon declared, only seven down, in an effort to move the game along.
England to their credit tried to get the game going, scoring much more freely in the second innings before Heyhoe Flint declared at 2/228, setting the visitors a target of 235 in 57 overs. A difficult ask, for that time period in cricket, but the Aussies went for it, ending 6/169 when stumps were drawn.Embed from Getty Images
“We had a brief possibility of getting there, but again the loss of each wicket meant a new start for the in-coming bat and time was lost.” – Anne Gordon
Both captains made had bold declarations, both wanted to win the Test. It set up a dramatic final showdown when the teams met at the Oval for the final match which was extended to four days in order to get a result.
England 9/242 (Bakewell 75, Thomas 52, Heyhoe-Flint 49, Thompson 3-42, Lutschini 2-31, Tredrea 2-46) and 2/228 (Thomas 90, Bakewell 77) drew with Australia 7/236 (Jennings 104) and 6/169 (Hill 47)