February 21, 2008

Giant steps

Charlotte Edwards
Our Ashes win down under is definitely our best achievement to date

The sweet sound of success: the team outside the Sydney Opera House after the win © Getty Images

We've just arrived in Christchurch after our historic Ashes win. It was a great game of cricket. Although our main aim was to retain the Ashes, to win the game as convincingly as we did was an amazing feeling. We had our critics saying we were only going for the draw, but I think we proved we wanted to win.

We said at the start of the Test that we needed to win eight sessions to secure the win, and I believe we won nine of them outright. The two crucial moments for me from the game were bowling Australia out for 154 on a good pitch in the first innings, with Isa Guha taking a five-fer, as well as mine and Tails' (Claire Taylor) record partnership of 159 in our first innings. Tails and I realised we were at a crucial point in the game when we were 26 for 2 and that it was up to us to maintain the upper hand that we had from the first innings if we were to get a first-innings lead.

It was one of the most important innings I've played for England. I was obviously disappointed to miss out on my hundred but pleased that due to that partnership we had a first innings lead of 90 runs.

I'm really pleased for Isa. She's had a tough start to the tour, missing out on the one-dayers, but she took her opportunity after Jen Gunn was left out through injury. She stepped up to the mark and proved once again that she's a top performer at international level, and thoroughly deserved her Player of the Match Award.

Our acting head coach Mark Lane was instrumental in us winning the match. He broke the game down into sizeable chunks so we could take it session by session, and that proved key. Having Jack Birkenshaw, the vastly experienced ex-Leicestershire and England bowler, here was also invaluable. Together they form a great partnership and we recognise how fortunate we are to have them on board.

Isa Guha gets Karen Rolton for the second time in the Test © Getty Images

Bowral was a fantastic venue for the game. We were all looked after extremely well by the Bradman volunteers. We had really good crowds every day, which created a fantastic atmosphere around the ground. Overall the game was a huge success for women's cricket and I think generated a whole new following to the game, which is great going forward. Hopefully, we can have more Test matches in years to come, especially against Australia.

We've had some great support in Australia from family and friends who were over following our progress, and it's also great to see that the result has generated some positive media coverage both over here and back in the UK. We've had loads of calls and texts from people congratulating us after they saw the result in the papers, and that's been brilliant.

Winning the Ashes in Australia is definitely our best achievement to date. I'm obviously ecstatic, but I'm not sure it's hit me just yet. While we did celebrate and enjoyed every minute of it, our attention has had to move quickly onto the five-match ODI series in New Zealand which starts in under a week.

It's a really tough schedule but we've had ample preparation and we're all up for it. Although they beat us in the summer, we're confident we can do really well here - which would top off a great winter tour.

I'm really excited that Katherine Brunt is back in the squad following a back injury. She's been bowling really well and I look forward to her pulling on an England shirt in the near future. In between all the cricket, I'm really pleased to be back in Christchurch, another one of my favourite cities (behind Sydney) and can't wait to go and explore the city centre shops and sights when I get five minutes!

Charlotte Edwards' Ashes tour diary will be published weekly on Cricinfo