Cricket Expert & Columnist
Women's Ashes: Taylor takes plaudits as England win again
Sarah Taylor was a class above as England's women extended their Ashes series lead, says Nick Knight.
Last Updated: 29/08/13 11:05am
The Sussex ace smashed a career-best 77 off 58 balls at Chelmsford on Tuesday to help the hosts to a 15-run victory and an 8-4 series lead, meaning Australia must win both of the remaining t20 contests to prevent England reclaiming the Ashes.
And Knight says Taylor was undoubtedly the star of the show in Essex.
"It was a special innings from Sarah Taylor," Knight told Sky Sports after seeing Australia fail to out-do the hosts' 146-4.
"There were some good players on show here but Sarah Taylor stood head and shoulders above all those around her.
"She hits so strongly down the ground, she's got the power to clear the inner ring and she's got the wrist work and innovation to hit the ball constantly into the gaps.
"Today she showed just how good she is."
The England wicket-keeper had failed to convert good starts into half-centuries earlier in the series but a vital 64 in the third ODI at Hove on Sunday marked a significant breakthrough for the No3, says her former team-mate Isa Guha.
The Sky Sports pundit also commended Taylor on putting a frustrating World Cup campaign behind her to play a crucial role in England's bid to reclaim the Ashes.
"She was really disappointed by her run of poor form at the World Cup in February, where she hit three ducks in a row, and she was starting to feel the pressure coming into this series," said Guha.
"The last innings kick-started her vain of form, though. She got 60-odd in the last game and that relieved a mental block she had, where she was getting to 30 and getting out.
"Being able to battle through that and come out the other side has helped her but she's a real pleasure to watch, a real box office player.
"It's all timing and classic stroke play, with her; she's a wonderful talent."
With two points at stake in each of the two remaining t20 contests, Australia can still retain the trophy - but the ECB's Head of Women's Cricket, Clare Connor, is confident England will now capitalise on their current position in the series and reclaim the Ashes.
"This win has eased the pressure a tiny bit with two to play," she said.
"I think back to the game at Lord's, the first One Day International last Tuesday, and after that defeat we needed to win four out of the remaining five games to regain the Ashes.
"We've won three in a row now and just need one more - although two would be brilliant.
"The team are playing well, they're rich in confidence and they've certainly got the upper hand on the Aussies at the moment."
Watch the second women's Ashes t20 contest live on Sky Sports Ashes from 2pm on Thursday, followed by England's men v Australia in their first t20 international