You have practice matches to get rid of the cobwebs and England will certainly be hoping that’s the case after embarrassing results in the lead-up to the women’s Ashes.
England’s senior side lost twice to the England A team in Canberra but captain Heather Knight said there are extenuating circumstances for the shocking results, with COVID forcing the side into two weeks of isolation before they came out to Australia.
“It’s been quite hard to focus on the cricket at the moment,” she said.
“I’m confident that we’ll make the most of what’s been a bad situation … and maybe it will take the pressure off. We’ve got to find a way to free up, go out there and almost just throw caution to the wind a little bit and see what we can do.”
After a 4-0 drubbing in the men’s series, Knight will be hoping it’s not deja vu for the women.
The women’s Ashes is a unique series with a points-based system. It starts with three T20s, followed by a four-day Test and concludes with three ODIs.
One positive for England is left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone, who took 7-14 off her four overs in the final Canberra hit-out. The multi-format series will suit her and she’s one the Aussies will be keeping a close eye on.
There’s plenty of experience in England’s bowling lineup with Katherine Brunt and Nat Sciver expected to lead the attack. They’ve played hundreds of internationals between them.
Captain Knight will have enormous responsibility with the bat. She has one of the best strike rates in international T20s (118) and if England’s to start well in the series will need to fire.
Australia still has the likes of Nicola Carey, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry in the top order, plus Ash Gardner to come in and finish an innings if required.
Meg Lanning (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)
The Aussies have a nice mix of youth and experience in the bowling ranks.
18-year-old quick Darcie Brown is an emerging threat who could be unleashed on the Poms.
There’s also Tayla Vlaeminck who averages just 19 in T20 internationals with 13 wickets in 14 matches, plus the ever-reliable Megan Schutt and Tahlia McGrath who showed she can handle the pressure by bouncing back after a tough start in the WBBL final.
How does the women’s Ashes work?
The series starts with three T20s and the winning side will collect two points for each game.
If there is a tie or no result the teams will receive one point each.
The four Day Test match has four points on the line for a team that can pull off the win. A draw will result in two points being shared.
The final three ODIs have the same points on offer as the T20s. Two points for a win, one point if it’s a tie.
Having the Test in the middle of the series means that even if a side clean sweeps the T20s the series is still very much on the line.