The Ashes are here! But so is the rain. Can England get off to a winning start in the first ODI on Sunday? Here are five areas where it could be won and lost.
The first ODI sees a 9.15am start after a week of poor weather. What effect will that have on the decision either captain makes at the toss?
The traditional ideas of Australia – sun-baked outfields, hard and fast tracks and heat-sapping days in the field – may have to be forgotten and replaced with more “English” conditions. It will all depend on the track, as ever, and that will have been sweating under the covers for a couple of days.
Whatever is said about who are the favourites or who are not the favourites, it’s undeniably a big loss to both Australia and the Ashes in general that the hosts’ skipper will miss out through injury.
Lanning is one of the finest players in the world and it’s a shame that such a big event for women’s cricket will be shorn of a superstar.
The decision to parachute in Rachael Haynes as skipper would have involved quite a lot of discussion and she’ll be keen to fill Lanning’s shoes.
It’s unclear yet what XI Mark Robinson will choose for the first ODI, especially given his side have only been able to play 18 overs of their two warm-up games.
In both games he selected the same XI that triumphed at Lord’s with the addition of 18-year-old left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone so she is clearly in his thoughts.
She may come into the team and if she does she could provide that slight unknown X-factor that often comes into play in the Ashes.
Get To Know
- AKA: Eccles
- Follow on:
- Age: 18
- Domestic Team: Lancashire, Lancashire Thunder
- Bowling Style: Left-arm
- Fun Fact:
- Dismissed her boyfriend while playing for Alvanley CC in Cheshire League Division 2
- Cricketing Legend:
- Her brother, James!
You don’t play in many series bigger than the Ashes and you certainly don’t play in any when there is as much talk before it all gets going. Two old adversaries going head to head is bound to excite the press and some in the Australian camp have been eager to impress upon the media that they’ll be aiming to be aggressive.
Whether their #BeatEngland campaign is replicated on the pitch remains to be seen but you’d imagine a few words will be exchanged in the middle. England will be hoping they win the on-field battle.
The World Cup clash between these two sides went right down to the wire, and it’s certainly possible to imagine it having gone the other way. As it was, England won the big moments and used their nous and expertise to get over the line.
Captain Heather Knight has mentioned in a number of interviews that those “clutch moments” are key – and handling the pressure that they involve could be a defining factor.
England face Australia in the first of the seven-match multi-format Women's Ashes series on Sunday 22 October in Brisbane (00:15 BST, 09:15 local time).
Follow all of the team news and results in our dedicated England Women section.