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No backing down in Ashes battle: Knight

England captain Heather Knight says tourists prepared to go toe-to-toe in aggression stakes with Australia in day-night Test

England captain Heather Knight says her side will not back down against Australia in the blockbuster pink-ball Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes Test match, declaring the tourists will "throw a few punches" back at their aggressive hosts.

Knight's strong comments were delivered on the eve of the first-ever day-night Ashes Test at North Sydney Oval in a match England must not lose or see the Australians retain the trophy.


Australia have made known their intentions to be more hostile and attacking throughout the multi-format campaign and with the series on the line England plan to match everything the home side is set to dish out.

"They are going to come at us hard, no doubt about it," Knight told reporters on Wednesday.

"That's the way Australian teams generally play.

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"For us, it is about nullifying that threat and quietening them down in terms of how they play.

"It's playing our way and standing up to them face to face and trying to throw a few punches back.

"But for us it is about reading the situation and being smart.

"It's something we've improved a lot on over the last couple of years, being a lot smarter as cricketers and knowing when to attack and when to be a bit smarter to sit in so you can attack later.

"That's a lot of the things we've been talking about over the last few days going into this match."

Prior to the series, Australia wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy vowed to "bring the bitch back" and get under the skin of her Ashes rivals.

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"That's definitely one area that personally I've looked back on the last few years and I think we've let slip," Healy said on The Unplayable Podcast last month.

"Playing all these domestic competitions around the world has made everyone too nice.

"Everyone plays with one another and is too worried about what everyone thinks.

"I think this Ashes series might see a little bit of a different side of the Australian team, which I think is really cool.

"Personally I vowed to 'bring the bitch back' and hopefully return to my chirpy self behind the stumps and be a pest for the opposition.

"We'll have to see how we go but it's definitely an area we've looked at.

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"Don't be prepared for a nice Aussie team, that's for sure."

However, it appears Healy's teammates have copped the brunt of her new attitude and not the English.

"I said a couple of words out in the middle the other day and Midge (Healy) actually sledged me," Australia middle-order batter Elyse Villani told cricket.com.au.

"I'm not really sure what's going on there with Alyssa Healy.

"It's always a tough contest, there's always a few words said and it's just a fierce contest on the field."

While Villani confirmed the banter and rivalry between the two sides still very much exists, the fact that most of the Ashes combatants play together in various Rebel Women's Big Bash League teams has seen the niggle stay on the field.

Villani played alongside England new-ball duo Katherine Brunt and Any Shrubsole with the Perth Scorchers in last summer's WBBL, and it sounds as though Brunt will be hoping to catch up with her T20 teammate again this season.

"I read an article the other day that Katherine Brunt is expecting to be at my house for Christmas," Villani said.

"Pretty game of her to just put the invite out there like that.

"On the field it's massive white-line fever between both teams but off the field once we put our Aussie and our England kit away, come WBBL season we'll be friends again.

"I don't think we've got any difficulties separating the rivalry on the field and everyone's out to win."

Possible Australia XI: Beth Mooney, Nicole Bolton, Alex Blackwell, Ellyse Perry, Elyse Villani, Rachael Haynes (c), Alysa Healy (wk), Tahlia McGrath/Ash Gardner/Jess Jonassen, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Megan Schutt, Lauren Cheatle

Possible England XI: Lauren Winfield, Tammy Beaumont, Heather Knight (c), Georgia Elwiss, Nat Sciver, Sarah Taylor (wk), Katherine Brunt, Jenny Gunn, Anya Shrubsole, Laura Marsh/Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone


Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes

Australia lead England 4-2

Australia squad (ODI and Test): Rachael Haynes (C), Alex Blackwell (VC), Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa (Test only), Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.

England squad: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Sophie Ecclestone, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Nat Sciver, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt.

Schedule


First ODI Australia won by two wickets

Second ODI Australia won by 75 runs (DLS method)

Third ODI England won by 20 runs (DLS method)

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'

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