Heather Knight column: Women's Ashes defeat 'absolutely gutting'
England vice-captain Heather Knight has been writing a series of columns during the summer's multi-format Women's Ashes series. Here, she reflects on Australia's 10-6 win - and looks ahead to another winter down under.
The Women's Ashes have gone and there's no way to describe it apart from absolutely gutting. We haven't done ourselves justice.
When we met up together as a group after the Test match, ready for the switch to Twenty20 cricket, there was a real belief and focus around the squad.
We knew it would be tough, but we also knew that if we took each game at a time, we could win all three T20 internationals to tie the series 8-8 on points and retain the Women's Ashes.
'Australia won the key moments'
Despite winning the first T20 at "Fortress Chelmsford", unfortunately it wasn't to be. We let ourselves down on the batting front to lose the second encounter at Hove and with it the Women's Ashes. The way we lost was tough to take, but credit to Australia who have been more consistent and won the key moments across the whole of the summer.
Before the final match in Cardiff, we wanted to finish on a high and win the T20 part of the series 2-1. It was a small consolation, but it was good to end the series with a win, particularly with the ICC Women's World Twenty20 coming up in India in March.
We have played some good cricket at times, and when we have played to our potential we have more than matched the Australians. We just haven't done it consistently enough, particularly with the bat.
But in the past I've definitely learned the most from tough losses and I'm sure this series will be no different. I have no doubt we'll be a stronger unit after this summer and we'll be hungry to work even harder leading into a big year of international cricket for us in 2016.
|Where the Women's Ashes was won and lost|
|21 Jul||1st ODI||Taunton||Eng (4 wkts)||2 (Eng 2-0)|
|23 Jul||2nd ODI||Bristol||Aus (63 runs)||2 (2-2)|
|26 Jul||3rd ODI||Worcester||Aus (89 runs)||2 (Aus 4-2)|
|11-14 Aug||Test||Canterbury||Aus (161 runs)||4 (Aus 8-2)|
|26 Aug||1st T20||Chelmsford||Eng (7 wkts)||2 (Aus 8-4)|
|28 Aug||2nd T20||Hove||Aus (20 runs)||2 (Aus 10-4)|
|31 Aug||3rd T20||Cardiff||Eng (5 wkts)||2 (Aus 10-6)|
Picking Flower's brain
During our T20 training camp at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough, ex-England men's coach Andy Flower kindly popped in to have an informal chat with us. It was brilliant to pick his brain on his career, as both a world-class cricketer and as a coach.
One thing that really struck me was when he talked about how lucky we are as cricketers - to be able to put ourselves out there in pressure situations day in, day out.
It's exciting as it's an unprecedented time for the women's game at the moment and the amount of coverage we've received - win or lose - is new to all of us. We should all be massively excited about where the game can go in the next few years.
Another winter down under
We have a bit of time off now to recharge the batteries after a long summer. A number of us are also going down under to Australia later in the year, and having played for Tasmania last winter, I'm really excited to head back there to play for Hobart Hurricanes in the inaugural Women's Big Bash League.
We managed to have a drink with a few of the Australian girls after the series was finished and there was a huge amount of excitement flying around for the WBBL, which starts on 5 December.
Finally, I want to massively thank everyone who has supported us this summer, whether in person at the grounds or by watching and listening on Sky Sports and BBC radio.
The crowds have absolutely blown us away this summer and really have been a 12th man for us, we can't thank you enough. We'll be back and we'll be better for it.