Healy believes it is not the end of an era for Australia’s once all-conquering side, but that they must adapt and grow.
Alyssa Healy who was captain on this tour in Lanning’s absence,
Australia’s hard-fought Ashes retention, according to stand-in captain Alyssa Healy, might represent a “reset moment” for the team.
The Australians retained the trophy they had held since 2015 after drawing the multi-format series with England on eight points each. But their hold is tenuous, with Healy describing the final match in Taunton as “a bit dirty” in the aftermath of Australia losing both the T20I and ODI legs 2-1.
Healy’s comments at a news conference following Australia’s 69-run defeat in the rain-affected third ODI on Tuesday were more reserved in light of claims that Australia had lost their typical battling spirit and ruthlessness.
“I think what this team’s fighting spirit and ruthlessness will look like moving forward might be slightly different than what we’ve seen in the past,” Healy said. “For us, it’s a great opportunity to sort of reflect and almost have a little mini reset moment of what this group is, what we look like now, and what we want to achieve in particular over the next four or five years.” I think it’s a great time to do that.”
Australia took the lead in the multi-format Ashes series with an 89-run victory at Trent Bridge, which was worth four points, double that of each limited-overs match. They increased their lead to 6-0 after winning the first T20I at Edgbaston by four wickets with one ball remaining. The Australians were less clinical than they had been in recent years in both matches, leaving them vulnerable as they lost the next three games.
“I wouldn’t call it the end of an era. I believe that was a brief moment that we may have required. We looked back at the T20 series and thought it might have been coming for a while… I believe we would have to consider how to adapt and grow as a T20 team. But the one-day format definitely damaged us a little because I believe we’re still a tremendously strong team and our performance was certainly disappointing.Alyssa Healy, Australia’s captain
Despite Australia’s much-vaunted depth, Healy pointed out that the retirement of Rachael Haynes and the late withdrawal of long-time captain Meg Lanning from the tour for undisclosed medical reasons had left a big hole in her side, which still managed to muster enough of their trademark mettle to win the second ODI in Southampton by three runs on the final ball, ensuring they retained the Ashes.
“You look at some of the changes that this group has seen over the last 12 months in particular, we’ve lost two of our most senior players, top-order batters in particular, in the space of 12 months,” Healy said. “Because we don’t know if or when one of those will return, we’ve done some chopping and changing.” I believe the positive side is that we’re giving some experience to some young guys who we’ve always seen as having the potential to play for Australia at some point, but they’re getting it perhaps a bit sooner than they expected, which is fantastic.
“Right now, I’m experiencing a variety of emotions. We came here to do a job, and while we didn’t exactly complete it, we did get the trophy back, which is definitely job number one completed. We couldn’t quite get over the line in the white-ball stuff, but generally, I’m pretty proud of how the series played out. It’s been an incredible show for cricket in general, and it’s been an honor to be a part of it. I’m sitting here, slightly excited and slightly disappointed.”
The difference has been that Australia faced an England side that believed they could overcome their all-conquering opponents and played accordingly, keeping their composure in some crucial moments more consistently than they had previously. After robbing Australia of their mystique, or at the very least denting it, England went some way – how far depends on who you ask – towards bridging the gap between the sides.
However, Healy, who was captain on this tour in Lanning’s absence, indicated that the Australians felt more vulnerable in the T20s. They had been pushed by India in the World Cup semi-finals in February and the Commonwealth Games final last year, as well as by them in a Super Over in December, which was their sole setback in their previous 24 completed T20Is before being thrashed by England at The Oval and Lord’s. Their defeat in the first ODI in Bristol halted a 15-game winning streak in the format, and the Taunton result broke a run of 21 triumphs while chasing in ODIs dating back to the 2017 Ashes, when they also lost a rain-affected match against England.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the end of an era,” Healy clarified. “I think it was probably a little bit of a moment that we needed.” “We looked back at the T20 series and thought that might have been coming for a while… I believe we would have to consider how to adapt and grow as a T20 team. But the one-day format definitely damaged us a little because I believe we’re still a tremendously strong team and our performance was certainly disappointing.
“I believe it marks the beginning of a new era in English cricket.” What they’re generating right now and the way they’re enjoying their cricket is extremely wonderful to watch, and you can see other people turning up to watch their side play, so that’s really exciting, and for us, we’ll just learn from it and hopefully continue to be excellent.”
The inverse number Heather Knight had no issue with the extra points weighting for the Test, stating that it was the regulations that both sides played by, but she did believe that England had merely validated her notion that there was no “gap” between the teams by winning both white-ball series.
“We’ve been through a lot against Australia,” Knight remarked. “Obviously, we don’t have the Ashes, but to play like we have this summer has been enormously satisfying, and the most exciting thing is that we haven’t played our best cricket.” Today was definitely the closest, but I believe we have a high potential for this squad to continue pushing forward and improving.
“The mindset we’ve developed that works extremely well for us is unquestionably correct, but I believe we can learn how to do it slightly better in different situations at different points.” But the manner we’ve won crucial moments in games has been the most impressive. That was perhaps the largest difference between the two teams prior. We’ve worked a lot on that as a group, and it’s been incredibly satisfying to watch us really thrive in those moments, win them, and be really calm and clear on what we need to do for the team in that moment.”
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