The multi-format Commonwealth Bank Women’s Ashes is the Inception of cricket campaigns – it’s a series within a series within a series.
At the top level is the age-old series of cricket’s greatest and most storied adversaries, Australia and England, a rivalry forged in fire.
Below that the Women’s Ashes trophy is at stake, with the winner the team that accumulates the most points across the one-day international, day-night Test match and Twenty20 legs of the series.
Dive down a level and you reach the ODI series, a three-match contest pitting the past two Women’s World Cup winners and the two best countries in the world against each other - and a series that Australia has already won with a fixture to spare.
And inside the ODI series is another ODI series where each win earns points in the ICC Women’s Championship, the global round-robin tournament where the top eight ranked ODI nations play one another home and away over a three-year period, with the top four securing qualification for the 2021 World Cup.
Now, having won the first two ODIs in Brisbane (by two wickets) and Coffs Harbour (by 75 runs), Australia are rising.
Those two wins have given Rachael Haynes’ charges four points in the Women’s Ashes, needing only another four out of a possible 12 to retain the trophy.
They’ve also secured four Women’s Championship points and a clean sweep of the ODI series will lock in six points and see them move to the top of the table alongside West Indies, who whitewashed Sri Lanka earlier this month in the Caribbean.
Australia vice-captain Alex Blackwell says the hosts are determined to maintain the momentum of the first two games and win the final match on Sunday.
"We’ve won a series within a series, the ODIs within this Ashes series,” said Blackwell.
"They (England) won’t be very pleased about that but we know it’s a long way to go and we know they respond very well.
"They’ll bounce back and I wouldn’t suggest they’re down and out at all.
"We’ll be wary of them and we’re looking forward to the next match here in Coffs Harbour and hopefully we can make it 3-nil, it sounds a lot better than 2-1.
"Given the points system we’ve got our nose in front and we want to extend that.
"We want to go into the Ashes Test match with England not having a victory so far in the series.
"That would be a daunting task for them, given that mathematically it would give us an opportunity to win the series in the Test match."
Australia’s four-point series lead makes Sunday’s final ODI virtually a must-win match for England.
Should the visitors go down and trail by six points they would need to run the table in the rest of the series, with only wins in the pink-ball Test and the three T20 internationals enough to regain the Ashes they surrendered in 2015.
England are still dreaming of an epic Ashes comeback, and seamer Jenny Gunn says the Australians are yet to see the world champions at the peak of their powers.
"We’re obviously disappointed we’ve lost the first two but we’re not too far away,” Gunn said on Thursday night.
"I know they outplayed us today but we haven’t played our best cricket yet and we’ve still got a long way to go."
Commonwealth Bank Women's Ashes
Australia lead England 4-0
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.
First ODI Australia won by two wickets
Second ODI Australia won by 75 runs (DLS method)
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