Tammy Beaumont believes her historic 208 in the lone Women’s Ashes Test may have been inadvertently aided by being axed from England’s T20 set-up last year.
After breaking Betty Snowball’s 88-year record for the highest score by an England woman in going past 189, Beaumont became her nation’s first double centurion and just the eighth female overall in Tests.
Her epic knock – which helped England to 463 and a 10-run deficit before Australia got their noses in front by closing on 82 without loss to lead by 92 at Trent Bridge – raised the question as to whether Beaumont can slot back into the T20 side after being dropped ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
While Beaumont was coy at the suggestion, the England opener, who has featured in 99 T20 internationals, admitted being discarded led to her working hard to seek advancements in her batting.
“It’s certainly not been on my mind in the last three or four days, Test match cricket is very different to T20 cricket – even though the England men try to make it look pretty similar,” she joked.
“How I’ve worked this winter on my game, that probably has had an impact on me trying to find that motivation to get better and improve.
“I’ve worked on trying to not get hit on the front pad so much and get out lbw. That came about from trying to be more aggressive in the T20 game and access midwicket and because of that, I’m defending the ball better.
“In an indirect way, it’s definitely played a part but it’s also reminded me that I’ve got a lot of cricket left that I want to play for England. Whether that’s in T20 cricket or not, who knows?”
Beaumont, who batted for more than eight hours across two days and struck 27 fours, revealed she was unaware she had eclipsed Snowball’s innings against New Zealand in Christchurch in February 1935.
“No, not at all,” she said. “I think when I hit the ball, it was announced and Sophie Ecclestone was desperate to give me a hug. But I was like ‘no, no, the job’s not done here’, so I just sent her away.
“I guess I was in the zone and I wasn’t thinking about records. I’d been really calm and tried to not show any emotion for two days but when I hit that run (to get to 200), it all came out.
“If you’re going to score 200 for England, you might as well celebrate it properly.”
England’s seamers were leggy and wayward at the outset of Australia’s second innings, with Beth Mooney and Phoebe Litchfield putting on a 50-stand in just 55 balls as boundaries proved easy to come by.
With an enviable pool of batting talent to come – Annabel Sutherland scored a century from number eight first time around – Australia are already flying in a Test that is effectively a one-innings shootout.
Beaumont, though, feels England will be seeking to disrupt their progress on what remains a flat pitch at the start of the penultimate day.
“We’ve got to come out fighting and knock a few over,” she said. “Whoever comes out and seizes the moment in the morning and early afternoon session will be the one in charge.”
One prospect is Australia trying to bat England out of the game then declare ahead of or early into day five but Beaumont insisted that scenario would not be followed by the hosts just going for a draw, with captain Heather Knight and head coach Jon Lewis having emphasised an attacking approach this summer.
“It’s still a good track to bat on,” she said. “There are plenty of runs out there to get and we want to push ourselves and we want to try and get a result, no one came here for a draw.
“If they set us a target I have a feeling we’ll be giving it a good old crack.”
Off-spinner Ashleigh Gardner, who was the pick of the Australia bowling attack with four for 99, was adamant the tourists do not have a total in mind before declaring.
“I would certainly say there’s probably going to be a result and that’s what we’re going to be pushing for,” she said. “But I don’t think there’s a real target in mind that we’ve spoken about as a group.”