Sky Sports Commentator @meljones_33
Australia's domestic system prepares their players better for international cricket, says Mel Jones
Last Updated: 21/07/19 11:14pm
Mel Jones speaks about the key differences between England and Australia after the Southern Stars retained the Women's Ashes.
We knew the skill sets of the two teams were reasonable even coming into the competition so when I look at the Australian domestic system, I think that they produce better quality players for tight competitions over and over again.
I look at the Women's National Cricket League and the Women's Big Bash League in Australia and they are two of the best domestic tournaments in my books for 50-over and T20s in Women's cricket.
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When you look at the athletes they are producing out of that, the gap from domestic to international cricket is less.
It means when players get to international cricket and it is a really tight match they can call on the experiences they have had in the domestic tournaments to bring into the international scene.
When I look at the flip side at England, I do not think their domestic competitions are as tight, tough or competitive.
So when they suddenly come up against Australia in the Ashes series and there are a couple of close moments in the first couple of one-day internationals, Australia constantly found a way to win.
Winning those key moments got England down early on and then they were completely demoralised in the third match so by the time they came to the Test match, their minds were fragile.
They tried to produce a pitch here in Taunton that would assist turn to try and win the Test match and then they lost the toss.
So they banked on a 50-50 chance to begin with, lose the toss and Meg Lanning's team bats for an entire day and gets England down even more.
Already on day one in Somerset, England would have started thinking to themselves 'how are we going to win this match when we haven't been batting all that well, against a team they have struggled to beat in the multi-format in recent series?'
With their backs against the wall and they can't see a wait out and it gets tougher and tougher. I reckon I saw in the first session on day one the England heads drop.
When Alyssa Healy is playing her natural game, 19 boundaries were hit in the first session. You looked around the England team and saw players not doing the little 1 per cent, getting around their team-mates after a good stop or a good piece of fielding.
There was no real reward for doing those things. We were listening in to the stumps mics and there was no real chatter, the movement was a little bit sluggish and the fielding ended up being well below par.
For Australia, A draw was a win because in the bigger scheme of things they will be heading back home with the Ashes no matter what happens in the T20Is.
Meg Lanning said at the start of the Test match that she wanted to win and saying that means you have that positive intent and that if there was a really good chance of doing it they would have gone for it.
But, at the end of the day there was no chance in the world that Lanning was going to be known as the captain that went for a sporting declaration and lost an Ashes Test!
After the 2017 World Cup in England, Australia had a camp to discuss their path forward and it took a little while for the conversations and visions that they came away with to click into play.
They were really devastated about the fact that they let England back into the previous Women's Ashes series and the scoreline ended 8-8 points on the scorecard.
I think they had this series in their eyesight for a while as it was built up, and fair enough, as to be a battle to be the best team across all formats.
To be the best team though you need to have a clear points differentiation so whether it was half a joke or not from Alyssa Healy that was going to not drop a game, that's how they have come out and played.
I think in a lot of players' minds they knew they had the team to do it as well and kudos to them, having played two tight ODIs, that they came out and showed they meant business in the third.
The key difference in the batting has come from Australia saying on a number of occasions that they have put a lot of pride and priority on their defensive work.
When they do that really well, it is like putting a wall up and that sends a message to the England bowlers that you are not going to get through us here, you are going to have to bowl an absolute peach of a ball to get us out.
All of a sudden when you send that signal, England go searching and the batters are able to capitalise.
I feel Australia have had the edge on England in a number of small areas but the biggest difference is their mental strength.
That is not to say that the England players are weak mentally but there is certainly a stronger application in the crunch times from the Australia side.
Watch the first T20I on the Women's Ashes between England and Australia live on Sky Sports Cricket from 7pm on Friday, July 26.