The Inner Sanctum’s Women’s Ashes Preview

The Inner Sanctum's Women's Ashes Preview. (Photos: cricket.com.au)

Despite the threats of Covid, Schedule changes, Postponed matches, Injuries, and fears of missing the World Cup, The long-awaited 2022 Women’s Ashes series between Australia and England is upon us.

The Women’s Ashes series is a little different compared to the men’s. Rather than playing five Test matches, the Women’s Ashes is a multi-format series, consisting of three T20’s, three ODI’s and one Test Match.

The series has been brought forward a week because of the quarantine requirements for the World Cup in New Zealand, beginning on March 4.

Beginning with three T20 matches in Adelaide starting on January 20. Both teams will then travel to Canberra for the Test at Manuka Oval and the first one-day international, before finishing the series Melbourne for the final two one-day internationals at the Junction Oval.

With the multi-formatted structure, a points system is used to determine the winner of the Ashes. The winner of the Test match will be awarded four points, while a draw results in two points given to each team.

For the ODI’s and T20’s, the winning side of each match will receive two points, in case of a draw or wash out each team will receive one point.

As the current holders of the Women’s Ashes, if Australia finishes with the most points, or on equal points, they will retain the trophy.

Head-to-Head

The previous Ashes series saw Australia comprehensively retain the trophy in England, 12-4. England will be looking to reclaim the ‘Ashes’ trophy for the first time since the 2013-14 series, the last time they won the multi-format series in Australia.

England captain Heather Knight has not won a Women’s Ashes series under her captaincy and would love nothing better than to win the trophy back down under.

The overall record illustrates how close and entertaining these clashes are. After 23 series, Australia leads the way with nine series wins compared to England’s six, there have also been eight draws.

Since 2013 when the multi-format was introduced, five series have been played. Two have been won by Australia, England also have two wins, there has also been one drawn series.

Key Players

Heather Knight:

Heather Knight will be looking to put her poor recent 2019 Ashes series behind her, and she’ll need to if England is to regain the Ashes.

In the 2019 series, Knight only scored 93 runs, averaging 13.28 runs with a high score of 28. Numbers well below the calibre and class of Knight.

Knight had a great home summer with the bat in hand, Scoring 95 in the one-off Test against India along with a century and an 89 against New Zealand as well and plenty of contributions for the London Spirit in The Hundred.

In the three intra-squad matches coming into this series, the 31-year-old made scores of 35, 0, and 57. She looms as the key wicket for the young, quick Australian bowlers.

Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen:

Megan Schutt is one of Australia’s frontline bowlers. Schutt missed the series against India last year, taking parental leave but she is back and ready to knock over some English batters.

Known for her ability to swing the ball early in the innings and bowl plenty of dot balls, look for Schutt to lead the Australian bowling attack.

Returning alongside Schutt is all-rounder Jess Jonassen. Jonassen also missed the India series through injury and is now back to full fitness is ready to come back and make an instant impact in the Australian XI.

The 29-year-old is coming off a great WBBL campaign with the ball, finishing as the second-highest wicket-taker. In 14 games, Jonassen took 21 wickets at an average of 14.90 and an economy of 6.49.

Nat Sciver:

Considered to be one of the best all-rounders in the women’s game, Sciver will look to cause the Australians a lot of havoc.

Sciver is coming into the Ashes in some good form, performing well with bat and ball in England’s three intra-squad matches.

In those three games, Sciver has made scores of 71 and 33 with the bat and taken figures of 2/8, 1/20, and 3/28.

Australian fans will remember the 29-year-old as she has played in previous Ashes tours, but has also played in the WBBL for the Melbourne Stars and Perth Scorchers.

Key Match-Up

Katherine Brunt v Meg Lanning

Meg Lanning has a remarkable record playing against the white ball. Lanning has scored over 3,984 in ODI’s, averaging 53.12, she’s also made 14 centuries and 16 half-centuries. The 29-year-old has a similar record in T20 cricket, scoring 2,943 at an average of 35.45 and a strike rate of 115.23.

Katherine Brunt is England’s greatest ever female bowler. Even though she is coming towards the end of her cricket career, the 36-year-old is still the heart and soul of this English team. Brunt has taken 301 international wickets across the three formats, 86 of them against Australia.

England’s most experienced bowler up against Australia’s captain and best player. The former Melbourne Stars teammates battle in the centre across all formats will certainly be one of the matchups that will go a long way to deciding the multi-format series.

Player’s to Watch

Sophia Dunkley:

Keep your eyes on Sophia Dunkley in this series. The young English batting all-rounder is now an established member of England’s T20 side after making her international debut last summer.

The 23-year-old had a memorable home summer with bat, scoring an unbeaten 74 in her Test debut against India along with a 73 not out against India in the ODI series. The middle-order batter also made multiple scores of 20+ in the T20 series against New Zealand.

Dunkley is coming off a superb tournament in The Hundred, finishing in the top three leading run-scorers. In nine matches, Dunkley made 244 runs at an average of 40.66 and a strike rate of 141.86.

In the three intra-squad matches coming into this series, the right-handed batter made 42 runs at an average of 21 and a strike rate of 140.00. Don’t let these numbers fool you, Dunkley still looms as one of the key wickets for the young, quick Australian bowlers.

Ellyse Perry:

Ellyse Perry’s place in the Australian team has been the talk of much discussion recently, especially in the shortest format. With Rachel Haynes returning from injury and Tahlia McGarth’s terrific run of form in Australia’s series against India and the WBBL, and with Australia’s strong depth, Perry’s spot in the starting XI is no longer a fait accompli.

In the last two years, Perry has struggled in the T20 format, particularly with the bat. The 31-year-old has scored 152 runs, at an average of 16.88 and a strike rate of 103.40. She also struggled in WBBL|07, despite scoring 358 runs, they came at a strike rate of 91.33.

Even though she bowls, Perry often doesn’t bowl all of her allotted four overs, which creates more uncertainty in her role in the team, but Australia’s most successful Ashes cricketer will love nothing more than to turn that record around in this series.

Sophie Ecclestone:

Sophie Ecclestone is not only England’s best spinner, but she is one of the best in the world. She currently sits first and fifth respectively in the ICC’s female T20 and ODI bowling rankings.

The 22-year-old left-arm orthodox bowler will play a huge role with the ball, hoping to take plenty of wickets and restrict the Australian batters from scoring.

Ecclestone will be coming into the Ashes series with some good form, taking 7/14 off four overs in an intra-squad match against England A. She will be hoping to take that form into the first T20 at the Adelaide Oval.

Who’s Missing

England will be going into this series with a full-strength team. They have brought a squad mixed with youth and experience.

On the other hand, Australia has made multiple changes to the squad that played against India late last year. Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen are among the big inclusions to the squad alongside uncapped spinner Alana King, the trio replaces injured spinners, Georgia Wareham (ACL), and Sophie Molineux (foot)

There wasn’t enough room for young speedsters Stella Campbell and Maitlan Brown. Veteran spinner Molly Strano, so often on the fringes of the Australian side didn’t make the squad again. Queensland wicketkeeper-batter Georgia Redmayne also didn’t retain her spot in the national squad after being selected in the squad for the India series. Both Strano and Redmayne have been selected in the Australia A squad.

On the eve of the series, star batter Beth Mooney underwent surgery on a fractured jaw following an incident at training on Monday evening, a return date for her return hasn’t been confirmed yet.

More Women’s Ashes News:

Women’s Ashes: Ellyse Perry’s form excites Mott ahead of Thursday’s opener

‘Tears of joy’: King ecstatic to get Ashes call-up

King confirmed, big names return in Australian Women’s Ashes squad

Predicted XI’s

Australia: Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy (wk), Meg Lanning (c), Ash Gardner, Ellyse Perry, Tahlia McGrath, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Darcie Brown, Tayla Vlaeminck, Megan Schutt

England: Danni Wyatt, Tammy Beaumont, Heather Knight (c), Nat Sciver, Amy Jones (wk), Sophia Dunkley, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn, Tash Farrant, Freya Davies

The Squads

Australia: Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (vc), Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Meg Lanning (c), Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck

England: Tammy Beaumont, Maia Bouchier, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Tash Farrant, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones (wk), Heather Knight (c), Nat Sciver (vc), Anya Shrubsole, Mady Villiers, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danni Wyatt

Fixtures

1st T20: January 20, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, 7:10pm AEDT

2nd T20: January 22, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, 2:10 pm AEDT

3rd T20: January 23, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, 2:10 pm AEDT

Test match: January 27-30, Manuka Oval, Canberra, 10:00 am AEDT

1st ODI: February 3, Manuka Oval, Canberra, 2:10 pm AEDT

2nd ODI: February 6, Junction Oval, Melbourne, 10:05 am AEDT

3rd ODI: February 8, Junction Oval, Melbourne, 10:05 am AEDT

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