Learning how to better adapt in the face of a batting onslaught will be a key focus of Australia as they prepare to defend the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes this summer.
Twice during the recent Women’s World Cup in the United Kingdom, Australia’s bowlers found themselves shell-shocked by remarkable individual performances and unable to find a way to stop the flow of runs.
Quick single: Mott calls for batters to up the ante
And while Chamari Athapaththu’s 178no in the early stages of the event wasn’t enough for Sri Lanka to upset the Australians, Harmanpreet Kaur’s remarkable unbeaten 171 saw India dump Meg Lanning’s team from the tournament in the semi-final.
Australia head coach Matthew Mott said while the players and staff had taken time to reflect on the disappointing end to their World Cup campaign, it was now all systems go as they refocus on beating England – the eventual World Cup champions – in the multi-format Women’s Ashes, which begins on October 22.
"We had high expectations and we underachieved what we set out to do which was disappointing, but we’re also mindful that our winning record is still strong,” Mott told cricket.com.au.
"India outplayed us on the day and we live to regret that we didn’t respond to that assault from Kaur, but generally we feel like a lot of good things are happening.
"We need to tidy up a few areas, but it’s not a case of going back to scratch … we need to learn from a few things that caught us off guard.
"There were two special innings on that tour that have forced a bit of a rethink in terms of our adaptability and some changes we want to incorporate.
"It’s not a bad thing we’ve been forced to do that."
Australia won’t want a repeat of Athapaththu or Kaur’s performances when they take on No.2-ranked England, who boast a strong batting line-up that will be full of confidence after four players – Heather Knight, Sarah Taylor, Natalie Sciver and Tammy Beaumont – all scored centuries at the World Cup.
To prepare for the battle ahead, Australia will enlist the help of some of Queensland’s leading young male batsmen when the squad comes together at Brisbane’s Bupa National Cricket Centre next month.
"We’ll still be playing a lot of game-based scenarios (at the camp) and one of the things that came from the playing group was that we probably need to throw a couple of young male batters in from Queensland who can get stuck in, attack us and put us under pressure, so we can try and development some plans to counteract that,” Mott explained.
"(In the past when) we’ve done our scenarios it’s against our own players, so it will be good to have people in there who we haven’t come up against too often and who can hit the ball quite hard and fast.
"We always try and empower our players to own their plans, but we can maybe push them a little more – if it’s not going well and they’ve just got to get out of their over, they can come up with some strategies to try and stop the bleeding."
Australia and England played out a thriller when they met during the group stage of the World Cup, with Knight’s team claiming a three-run win.
Mott is expecting it to be no different when they teams came face to face in the Ashes, which see the Ashes foes meet in three ODIs, one day-night Test and three T20Is.
"(England) played really good cricket, their batters came out and really attacked and played aggressively in a lot of games and they racked up some really big scores,” Mott said.
"We’ve seen enough of them and they’re seen enough of us to know it’s going to a hell of a series.
"Judging by the margin in that game, it’ll be tight again through this entire Ashes series."
After strong crowds turned out for the World Cup in the UK, including more than 4,000 people for the Australia-England game in Bristol, Mott hopes loud, parochial home crowds in Australia will give his team an added edge.
"It’s going to be a huge series for women’s cricket. We’re playing at good grounds to get some crowds," he said.
"It will be a good, intimate experience and similar to some of those English grounds we played at."
First ODI Allan Border Field, October 22
Brisbane Charity Partner: Lord Mayor's Charitable Trust
Second ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 26
Third ODI Coffs International Stadium, October 29
Day-Night Test North Sydney Oval, November 9-12
First T20 North Sydney Oval, November 17
North Sydney Charity Partner: McGrath Foundation
Second T20 Manuka Oval, November 19
Third T20 Manuka Oval, November 21
Canberra Charity Partner: Lord's Taverners ACT