England finally have the belief they can win the Women’s Ashes for the first time since 2014, says World Cup winner Alex Hartley.
Hartley credits England’s aggressive mindset under head coach Jon Lewis as key to their success.
England won the T20 leg of the multi-format series by beating Australia by five wickets at Lord’s on Saturday.
It is the first series Australia have lost since 2017, but they still lead the points-based multi-format series 6-4.
“The way this team believe in themselves, it’s almost like they are thinking, ‘what have we been doing for all these years!?'” said Hartley on BBC Test Match Special.
“Australia are human and they are making mistakes.
“Yes, they are a remarkable cricket team and the best in the world and yes, they don’t lose many cricket matches, but England have self-belief and that is what Jon Lewis has done.”
Lewis, who was appointed head coach in November 2022, started with a series win over West Indies in December before overseeing a disappointing semi-final exit in February’s T20 Word Cup.
England then fell 6-0 down in the Ashes before pulling off closely-fought victories in front of record crowds at The Oval and Lord’s to keep the series alive with three one-day internationals remaining.
Every game is still must-win for England, as one more victory for Australia will see them regain the Ashes – and in a format in which they have won 41 from their last 42 games.
“It is going to take something special and remarkable for England to win the Ashes for the first time since 2014,” said Hartley. “But they are fighting and scrapping.”
England’s aggression was exemplified by Alice Capsey’s stunning 46 from just 23 balls, including two sixes, that lit up Lord’s on an historic night for women’s cricket in north London.
And all-rounder Nat Sciver-Brunt, whose steady run-a-ball 25 anchored England’s chase of 119 in 14 overs, says England’s approach will not change with the format.
“The confidence we took from The Oval was really important,” Sciver-Brunt told Sky Sports.
“We go to a new format now, and the personnel might change but the philosophy won’t. We want to be positive and if we do that, we should get over the line.
“Needing to win every game simplified it for us – there’s no other way to play.”
From Australia’s perspective, losing is unfamiliar territory.
They have dominated the world game for the best part of a decade, holding world titles in both white-ball formats and winning the Commonwealth Games in 2022.
“Australia will be stunned by back-to-back losses,” said former Australia batter Alex Blackwell on BBC Test Match Special.
“They haven’t felt that for a very long time. I see this England scrapping, and that is something that Australia usually do so well.
“England have definitely shown that there has been a shift [between the sides].”
In typically honest fashion, Australia captain Alyssa Healy said the defeats had been a “kick up the bum” for her side, saying England had played “braver” cricket.
The series continues on Wednesday at Bristol, the gap allowing England’s players to enjoy some relaxation at Wimbledon with one of their days off.