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Last Updated: Friday, 19 August 2005, 07:11 GMT 08:11 UK
Claire Taylor column
Claire Taylor
By Claire Taylor
England women's team

Two weeks into our series against the Aussies and we feel we're playing some good cricket.

Fielding at short leg to Shelley Nitschke
A short leg needs a flinch-free response to the ball ricocheting off your shin pads

The Test match in Hove was drawn but it was one of the better Tests I've played in and and on the last morning all three results were possible.

Arran Thompson batted well to score over 150 runs in the match and bringing up her first Test century for England from the last ball of the match was a fitting reward.

The Test was also the first time I've ever known anyone to be selected from outside the squad for a match.

The players were told at a meeting the night before the first day that Sussex youngster Holly Colvin would be in the side as a third spinner.

This news was very disappointing for Jo Watts, the other young spinner in the squad, but coach Richard Bates felt that Holly's left arm spin would offer more variation to our attack.

Holly's selection proved valuable as she took three first innings wickets and nearly achieved a hat-trick in her first Test.

I hope that she takes the experience on board, continues to work hard at her cricket as part of the Sussex Academy and returns to the England squad sometime in the future as a strong, competitive cricketer.

Holly Colvin
Holly Colvin showed a lot of promise in her debut Test

I spent most of the Test match with pads on - shine pads that is, for fielding at short leg.

When the bowlers didn't quite get the length right I felt more like a wall!

Important attributes for a short-leg include quick reactions, soft hands, the ability to stand your ground when batters advance down the track and a flinch-free response to the ball ricocheting off your shin pads to mid-on.

In the first one-dayer at Cheltenham, I had the other pads on because I was keeping wicket to make room in the side for an extra batter.

There are a lot of opinions around the game about whether you should select the best keeper or select a batter who can keep.

I've spent 13 years keeping wicket for club and county and feel I bat better when I keep. It was great to be able to do so again for England for the first time since an injury forced Mandie Godliman to withdraw from the team on the New Zealand/Australia tour in 2003.

Claire Taylor
Standing up to the stumps at Cheltenham

In the end, no chances came my way but I kept tidily and picked up a half century when batting - a busy day for me.

We're getting closer to the Australians in one-day cricket.

In the field we took wickets at good times and were disciplined in our bowling. Our fielding was not as good as it could be but we took some great catches and Jenny Gunn's brilliant run out of Karen Rolton was a key point in the game.

When batting, we ran well and picked up boundaries when needed but we left our lower order to pick up 16 runs from the last four overs and Cathryn Fitzpatrick knocked them over in her second spell to finish with 4-19 and end our hopes for a first win over the Aussies since 1993.

It was disappointing to let the game slip when we were in a great position but we're confident in our ability to pick up victories in this series.

The match was a great advertisement for women's cricket.

Here's hoping that the 1,000 spectators who enjoyed it come along to the remaining games and bring lots of their friends!




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