'The best Test cricket we've played' - Taylor
It's not the first time that Claire Taylor has had her name in lights after rising to the big occasion, but she ranked her two matchwinning fifties up there in what she described as "one of the best Tests to play in."
England won the one-off Test by six wickets to retain the Ashes - only their third series win in Australia - and the victory must also be considered in the context of losing their head coach Mark Dobson, wicketkeeper Jane Smit and premier allrounder Jenny Gunn beforehand. "To fight with those eleven and stand nose-to-nose it's great to actually win the Test match," said Taylor. "To get in the right situation and actually close it down that feels really good. It was fairly nerve-wracking, the Aussies don't give you anything."
She credited stand-in coach Mark Lane with helping them to victory in a form of the game neither they nor Australia play often. "Mark's being really good for us over the last week, he's kept things really simple. We talked on a session-by-session basis and that's made it easier for us."
Isa Guha, the player of the match, and therefore the series for her nine wickets, agreed. "He's been great the whole way through. It's been a tough ask for him to suddenly step into the coach's shoes and he's been really great for us, so positive, brilliant."
Guha was on for a ten-wicket match haul when Karen Rolton declared to give Australia a chance in their must-win encounter. "Obviously it would have been nice to get ten wickets but I'm just glad that the batters went out there and did the job."
She said victory was all the sweeter because their attacking intents had been written off prior to the match, despite Charlotte Edwards saying they would go all-out to win. "We got a lot of stick," Guha said, "but we knew all along that we wanted to win this game and it's so sweet to win and be the rightful owners of the Ashes. It's a bit unfortunate that we can't play more games but at the same time it's such a special venue and it just means so much. You can see that in everyone. We all wanted to win this game."
The last time England won the Ashes in 2005, the country erupted in a spontaneous parade and bestowing of OBEs. This time around the celebrations are slightly more low key - and not just because it's not a joint bash with the men nor because England have another series against New Zealand in six days. That obviously doesn't help, says Guha: "We'll be having a few drinks tonight, obviously not too many because we've got to be preparing for next week ."
But Taylor revealed the true reason: "We're just going to hang out with each other because it's a Monday night in Bowral, a country town in Australia, so I don't know that there's that much going on. It's not going to be a London, is it? A quiet night, barbecue and a beer, I think."
Jenny Thompson is an assistant editor at Cricinfo