Jon Lewis says England belief has grown despite defeat in Women’s Ashes opener

Jon Lewis insisted optimism is higher than ever within the England dressing room despite defeat in the lone Test leaving them with an uphill struggle in the Women’s Ashes.

Australia’s 89-run triumph at Trent Bridge handed them a 4-0 points lead, meaning England have to win at least four and more likely five of the six white-ball matches to prevail in the multi-format series.

The last time England beat Australia when the Ashes was still in the balance was in October 2017 – they also won twice the following month and in July 2019 but those games were effectively dead rubbers.

Australia won the one-off Test at Trent Bridge (Tim Goode/PA)
Australia won the one-off Test at Trent Bridge (Tim Goode/PA)

History might be against them but England head coach Lewis believes many of his players see Australia, the ODI and T20 world champions and Commonwealth Games gold medallists, through a different lens.

“I think the belief has grown,” Lewis said. “We came in with a little bit of unknown and trepidation, not quite sure how things were going to pan out.

“Four or five players reflected to me that one of the biggest things they’ve learned is how close they are to beating this Australia side.

“We played some really exciting cricket across the five days and Australia just did it for a little bit longer and a little bit better. But we’re encouraged by that performance.

“I know it sounds strange when we lost the game but I can really sense the belief in the dressing room that we can win both white-ball series.”

  • 1st T20, Edgbaston, July 1
  • 2nd T20, Kia Oval, July 5
  • 3rd T20, Lord’s, July 8
  • 1st ODI, Bristol, July 12
  • 2nd ODI, Ageas Bowl, July 16
  • 3rd ODI, Taunton, July 18

Lewis – who worked briefly as a bowling coach for the England men’s side under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes – and captain Heather Knight have tried to foster a more proactive mindset in recent months.

Knight lamented England had been “too aggressive” in their pursuit of wickets in Australia’s second innings which ultimately allowed the tourists to get to a total that was out of reach.

“I don’t think (Heather) was too aggressive at all,” Lewis said. “We could have executed our skills better. What happened is the girls just tried too hard, which can happen in games of multi-day cricket.

“Is that the thing that cost us the game? I don’t think so. We said we were going to take the game on at every opportunity and at times you have to absorb pressure from the opposition in long games.

“I couldn’t be happier with the mindset the girls went out to play with.”

Tammy Beaumont is unlikely to be named in England's T20 squad despite her historic double century at the weekend (Tim Goode/PA)
Tammy Beaumont is unlikely to be named in England’s T20 squad despite her historic double century at the weekend (Tim Goode/PA)

England have little time to lick their wounds with the first of three T20s – each worth two points, the same as the three ODIs that follow – at Edgbaston on Saturday evening.

While Lauren Filer made an impression on international debut as her pace troubled Australia’s batters at Nottingham, her inexperience and raw ability means she is unlikely to be included in the T20 squad.

“She’s left a couple of scars on the Australian team,” Lewis said. “I think she’s really well suited to Test cricket – being able to bowl multiple short balls and to have the field a bit more spread.

“You’ve got to remember she’s 22 years old, I don’t know how many games of cricket she’s played, I can’t imagine it’s many more than 20-25 in her professional career.”

Similarly, Tammy Beaumont’s exclusion from the sprint format team – she was dropped last year because of a 108.37 strike-rate – seems set to continue despite a historic double century at the weekend.

However, Lewis added: “She’s moved very much further forward in our thinking. Tammy’s really turning the screw on everyone in this side because she’s pretty vocal that she wants to play T20 cricket.”