'Australia are not losing a game' - Alyssa Healy on women's Ashes
Australia's wicketkeeper channels Glenn McGrath ahead of the women's Ashes starting next month
Australia women's wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy has channelled Glenn McGrath in predicting Australia will not lose a game in the upcoming women's Ashes series against England.
Australia are the current women's Ashes holders but retained them only after a drawn series in Australia in 2017-18.
The women's Ashes are determined under a points system which includes matches across all three formats. Four points are awarded for a win in the sole Test match and two points each in the event of a draw. Two points are awarded for a win in each of the three ODIs and three T20Is.
Australia won the 2015 Ashes in England on the back of a thumping Test match win. But the 2017-18 series was drawn with Australia winning the ODI series 2-1 before losing the T20 series 1-2, with the Test at North Sydney ending in a draw.
No side has gone undefeated since the points system was introduced in 2013 but Healy boldly predicted the reigning Women's World T20 Champions might do something special.
"Australia not losing a game. That's very bold," Healy said.
Australia are currently in Brisbane playing practice matches against Australia A before heading the UK ahead of the first ODI on July 2. The sole Test will be played between July 18 and 21, with the T20I series starting from July 26.
Australia beat Australia A comfortably by 103 runs in a 50-over match on Monday. Vice-captain Rachel Haynes made 81 off 84 balls while Healy made 49 from 55, including nine boundaries. Legspinner Georgia Wareham claimed 4 for 21 with the ball.
Healy said the surface in Brisbane was quite difficult.
"Almost English conditions, the wicket was doing a little bit early," Healy said.
"For me to get out (against) the new ball and face some really top-class bowlers from around this country was a great opportunity to test what we've been working on over the last 8-12 weeks in preparation. It was nice to get out there and have a hit out and get the legs moving around the field."
Haynes said Healy just picked up where she left off at the end of last summer.
"(Healy) hasn't missed a beat, that's for sure, she batted beautifully early on against the new ball," Haynes said.
"It was tough actually, it was a bit wet and the pitch had a bit in it for the bowlers.
"It was nice to spend a bit of time in the middle. I didn't feel in the whole time to be honest, it was really tough and their bowlers bowled quite well into the wicket and it was just sort of holding."
After the best 12 months of her career, where she was named Player of the World T20 and won the Belinda Clark medal as Australia's best women's player in 2018, Healy said she wants to raise her game to another level.
"Doing that is going to be incredible difficult, I'd like to think I'm improving as a cricketer and I've still got a lot to learn," Healy said.
"I guess that's motivating me to keep pushing and to see how I can do things better. I've identified a few key things that I could have done better last year and I've been working on them over the last few months and hopefully we'll see them come to fruition in the Ashes."
Alex Malcolm is a freelance writer based in Melbourne