No extra pressure on England in penultimate Ashes match – wicketkeeper Amy Jones

England wicketkeeper Amy Jones insisted there was no extra pressure going into Sunday’s penultimate match of the Women’s Ashes at the Ageas Bowl.

Heather Knight’s team have stormed back from 6-0 down to level the multi-format series after they triumphed by two wickets in the first ODI in Bristol on Wednesday.

Victory in Sunday’s match in Hampshire would put England one win away from regaining the Ashes for the first time since 2014 and inflict a first ODI-series defeat on world champions Australia in a decade.

Despite having the momentum on their side, Jones does not believe the mindset of Jon Lewis’ squad will change.

She said: “I think everyone is feeling pretty relaxed. We had a good review of the game, looking at areas where we can improve still, which was really motivating as a group after a win.

“We’ve obviously got an opportunity to win the ODI series tomorrow so everyone is pretty excited about it.

“We’ve gone the whole series feeling like underdogs and we’re just trying to keep that mentality of acknowledging how good a side Australia are, but sticking to our strengths and trying to put them under as much pressure as possible during the game. It will be a similar mindset tomorrow I think.

“I think there was more pressure when we were 6-0 down than there is now.

“So, I don’t feel like there’s any extra pressure now. I think, if anything, it’s just doing what we’ve been doing and trying to stay in the moment and play each game.”

England had not tasted success against Australia in three years before they edged a thrilling T20 at the Kia Oval earlier this month.

Jones admitted it boosted belief, but credited their tour of the West Indies at the end of 2022 as the beginning of a period where they have consistently played bold, aggressive cricket under captain Knight and head coach Lewis.

“It doesn’t feel like we’re playing a different (Australia) side. It just feels like we’re a different side and the way we’re going about it is different,” Jones explained.

“Obviously they are best team in the world, have proven it for many years and although leading into the series we spoke about how we feel, we are good enough to beat them – I think until you do, you are not 100 per cent certain.

“Definitely to get the wins in the T20s, to win the series was huge for us as a group. We’ve taken a lot of confidence from that and hopefully we can carry it forward into these last two.

“Something we recognised back in the West Indies, we sat down and thought about how we play our best cricket and it is when we feel backed, supported as individuals and we do play with a smile on our faces.

“In the West Indies, it felt like a turning point in terms of how we all were around each other, almost a bit of release of pressure that we just put on ourselves over the years for whatever reason.

“Lew’s main message is ‘inspire and entertain’ and that is huge, I think, because it just takes the pressure off win or lose.

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“I think with all of that, it promotes playing with freedom, playing your shots, people come to watch good cricket and an exciting cricket and having the freedom to do that without too much fixation on the result and if you get out, as we saw it in some good entertaining cricket.”

England will play in front of another sell-out crowd at the Ageas Bowl, having seen attendance records broken throughout the Ashes.

The series has captured the imagination of the public and this week saw the ICC announce their tournaments would see equal pay for men and women teams moving forward.

Jones is excited about how far the women’s game continues to come, adding: “Yeah, it is a great step. Obviously a really positive move for women’s cricket and a great show from the ICC of how far our game has come along.

“Everyone’s absolutely loved it (this summer) and it’s the first time we’ve played at the big rounds consistently.

“The marketing of the joint Ashes and everything, to see all of that work behind the scenes pay off and people do want to come out and watch us and we can fill grounds, it’s a brilliant feeling and we’ve definitely thrived off that.

“It is sold-out again tomorrow, so another great atmosphere and hopefully a good match.”