Australia women coach Matthew Mott has admitted that the way the team faded at the end of the 2017-18 Ashes has provided motivation to retain the prize with outright victory in this year’s multi-point series.
Australia kept hold of the Ashes when it was played on home soil – having regained them in 2015 – but England won the final two T20Is to level the contest at eight points each. Australia were bowled out for 112 in Canberra, before Danni Wyatt’s century cancelled out Beth Mooney’s unbeaten 117 in the final game.
Mott said that slip had been used as a drive to bring a greater ruthlessness to Australia’s cricket and the results since have been evidence of that, with just two defeats in all internationals since the end of the previous Ashes.
“It’s been a huge factor. Everyone in that team felt a bit of a bitter taste at the end of that series. We’d done the hard work and just took the foot off the throat,” Mott said. “We talk a lot about finishing teams off and it’s really been a motivating factor for the last 12 months and how we’ve played the game.
“In all the series we’ve played since the intensity on the last day has been as good as the first. It’s been a huge factor and in our minds one of the themes is a bit of unfinished business. We are obviously happy to hold the Ashes but we want to come over here and win them this time.”
Mott knows his team will face a confident England side that is currently on a run of 14 unbeaten matches having made convincing work of defeating West Indies over the last few weeks. “It’s two great teams going head-to-head, they’ll be chock full of confidence and we’ve had a really good 12 months. Two of the best teams in the world going head-to-head, it’s a special summer, I think everyone has earmarked this for a while and we just hope to start well.”
The Ashes begins with the three-match ODI series – where two points are on offer for a victory – before the Test in Taunton, where victory carries four points, followed by the three T20Is. Australia could look to supplement their squad ahead of the Test with a player from the Australia A team which is playing concurrently in the UK.
“It’s created a really unique opportunity for us to play alongside each other and give our players the opportunity to get some game time,” Mott said. “We are going to work together to make sure we maximise game time for everyone, rather than sitting and watch if they can get some games in, then great. Also there’s an added incentive for the A-team players, they know we’ve got the opportunity to add an extra player around the Test match so that 15th player, if they are knocking the door down in the A team, they have the chance to come in.”
Australia begin the tour with two warm-up matches against the England academy team in Loughborough ahead of the opening ODI in Leicester on July 2.
Ashes squad Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Georgia Wareham, Tayla Vlaeminck
Australia A squad Maitlan Brown, Erin Burns, Maddy Darke, Josie Dooley, Heather Graham, Sammy-Jo Johnson, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Rachel Trenaman, Belinda Vakarewa, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Source: ESPN Crickinfo