There’s no lack of context in what is a World Cup year, but Lanning and Knight aren’t looking too far ahead as they face off in the ODI leg of the women’s Ashes
That is a longer-term ambition and one that the administrators need to take seriously (highlighted by the fact that there are currently no further Tests on the schedule), but in the immediate future there is an equally important challenge to focus the minds of Australia and England.
“We don’t want to think too far ahead because as soon as we do that it will come crashing down pretty quick,” Lanning said.
“If we try and do the right things it will prepare us for the World Cup” Knight said. “We haven’t got our eye on that [the World Cup] at all, it’s all about that first game and trying to bring the good stuff we’ve done so far and polish a few things.”
There was somewhat less raw emotion in Knight’s voice as she spoke on Wednesday compared to her post-Test interview with the BBC on Sunday evening. She knew how close her team had got to putting themselves ahead in the multi-format series and, in truth, knew they should have won.
That is a huge ask against a side that had a 26-match unbeaten run in the format until their most recent outing against India, but amid the agonising near-miss three days ago, Knight felt England had laid down a marker.
“Real character from the girls, to show that we can do that and want to go at the Australians. We’ve talked about it a lot before the series and so pleased that the girls put themselves out there and tried to chase it down”
“Felt like we were in a great position to win it and at the end there it felt a little bit like a loss, but the way we went at that chase was awesome,” she said. “I certainly think they were the most relieved with the draw. It’s shown that when we do go hard at them we can put them under pressure and create a few cracks.
“Real character from the girls, to show that we can do that and want to go at the Australians. We’ve talked about it a lot before the series and so pleased that the girls put themselves out there and tried to chase it down.”
England have won their three ODI series since cricket resumed in the pandemic – two against New Zealand and one against India – but their last meeting against Australia in the Ashes during the 2019 series was a 3-0 defeat.
“[The Test] turned into a bit of a one-day game and it does go to show that when you put partnerships together it’s pretty difficult to get wickets. So that’s a bit of a sign for the ODI series,” Lanning said. “From a bowling perspective, we need to be able to take wickets and put them under pressure, and from a batting point of view, when you get in you really need to make sure you are making the most of it.
“We are really comfortable with our ODI game at the moment, feel like it’s in a good spot, but we need to make sure we bring our best to beat England.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo