Gardner flags improvement as Aussies hunt Ashes retention

Australia can sharpen up parts of their game ahead of the second Ashes T20I at The Oval, according to star allrounder Ashleigh Gardner

Ashleigh Gardner insists Australia have room to improve as they look to extend their unbeaten run against England when the multi-format Ashes continue in unfamiliar territory on Wednesday.

The second T20I will be held at The Oval on Wednesday, the first women’s international to be held at the south London ground since the 2009 T20 World Cup semi-final.

Ellyse Perry was the only current player from either team to feature in that match, which the hosts won by eight wickets on their way to the inaugural title.

The present Australian team hold a six-nil advantage over their Ashes foes in the points-based series and can officially retain the trophy with a win on Wednesday evening.

They clinched a six-wicket victory over England in the first T20I at Edgbaston on Saturday, and never looked seriously uncomfortable in their pursuit of 154 despite a late wobble that saw them lose 3-10 before sealing victory in the final over.

That performance was punctuated at times by uncharacteristic sloppiness in the field, with several missed run out opportunities and a dropped catch that gave England top-scorer Amy Jones a life. 

"I think there's always things to improve on, coming from the longest format to the shortest format we knew that there was going to be some potential teething issues," Gardner told reporters in London on Tuesday.

"I think in the field there's always room for improvement … we feel like we can definitely out-field teams and that wins games, the best fielding team generally comes up on top.

"But I think with both bat and ball, it's just being really clear on different plans and having more than one plan as well if (batters) get going.

"And with the bat, just making probably better decisions, knowing what they are potentially going to dish up at us.

"I think both teams are pretty evenly poised with our line-ups and I think we've played really good cricket, but there's still plenty of good cricket left within our side to match what England's going to throw out at us."

Aussies hold off determined England at packed Edgbaston

The chance to officially retain the Ashes just three matches into the seven-game series is driving Australia, as is the opportunity to maintain the unbeaten run both the country’s women’s and men’s teams are currently enjoying.

If Australia do win on Wednesday, they will then have the added carrot of an opportunity to win the series outright at Lord’s on Saturday.

"We want to win every single game, we didn't come here to lose," she said.

"We're in a good place at the moment where we want to retain the Ashes first and foremost and if that happens tomorrow night, fantastic.

"And if we can be in a good position at Lord's to win the Ashes (outright), that's certainly something that we want to do.

"It's really cool being over here at the same time as the men and both being (undefeated) ... but we know that there's so much cricket to be played, we know England are likely to come out and be quite fired up, both the men and the women."

England have no margin for error in the series and must win the five remaining matches to take back the Ashes from Australia.

Star spinner Sophie Ecclestone will be key to those hopes and the left-armer was confident she could put pressure on Australia’s deep batting line-up when speaking to media in London on Tuesday.

"I think we're really close and we're really confident going into tomorrow," Ecclestone said.

"I think we've seen weirder things happen ... so I'm really up the challenge and we know what we need to do."

CommBank Ashes Tour of the UK 2023

Australia lead the multi-format series 6-0

Test: Australia won by 89 runs

First T20I: Australia won by four wickets

Second T20I: July 5 at The Oval, London, 6.35pm (3.35am July 6 AEST)

Third T20I: July 8 at Lord’s, London, 6.35pm (3.35am July 9 AEST)

First ODI: July 12 at The County Ground, Bristol, 1pm (10pm AEST)

Second ODI: July 16 at The Rose Bowl, Southampton, 11am (7pm AEST)

Third ODI: July 18 at The County Ground, Taunton, 1pm (10pm AEST)

Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

England T20 squad: Heather Knight (c), Natalie Sciver-Brunt (vc), Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Alice Capsey, Kate Cross, Freya Davies, Charlie Dean, Sophia Dunkley, Sophie Ecclestone, Danielle Gibson, Sarah Glenn, Amy Jones, Issy Wong, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Danielle Wyatt