Is Australia vulnerable without Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes?

Just one sleep away is the much-awaited one-off historic women’s Ashes Test, the biggest of them all, set to be played at Trent Bridge from the 22nd to the 26th of June, 2023. While England has been actively commenting on their counterparts, Australia has been rather silent. Nevertheless, the time for action is upon us, and before we draw the curtain on the buildup, here are a few talking points surrounding the Trent Bridge showdown.

Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning. PC: Getty Images
Rachael Haynes and Meg Lanning. PC: Getty Images


The last Test match between England and Australia took place in January 2022 in Canberra. It was an enthralling contest that spanned four days but ultimately ended in a draw. England then faced South Africa in another captivating Test match on home soil, which also ended in a draw. However, in the upcoming Test at Trent Bridge, the inclusion of a fifth day ensures that there will be a definitive result.

Australia without Meg Lanning and Alyssa Healy the skipper

In a last-minute u-turn, Meg Lanning, one of Australia’s most decorated leaders, pulled out of the Women’s Ashes on grounds of an undisclosed medical issue. This news significantly impacts Australia’s dominant reputation and puts their eight-year hold on the Women’s Ashes in jeopardy.

With 241 international outings and 8352 runs to her name, Lanning’s absence represents more than just a numerical loss for Australia. However, Alyssa Healy, the stand-in captain, has already proven her leadership skills by successfully guiding the team to victory in a T20I series in India, even without Australia’s best XI. Healy’s strategic acumen and ability to rally the team will be crucial and has got enough to fill the void left by Meg Lanning.

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Is Australia vulnerable without Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes? PC: Getty Images
Is Australia vulnerable without Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes? PC: Getty Images

Is the new-look Australian side, vulnerable?

Australia has undergone significant changes since the last Ashes series. They will be without the services of key batters Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes. Furthermore, Alyssa Healy, instead of opening the batting, has opted to bat in the middle order to preserve her energy while wicket-keeping. This shift has paved the way for a new opening pair comprising the experienced Beth Mooney and promising talent Phoebe Litchfield.

Australia’s formidable middle-order, including Ellyse Perry, Tahlia McGrath, Ashleigh Gardner, and Alyssa Healy, presents a challenge for England. England will aim to make early inroads to expose the middle order early on. Australia’s strength lies in their deep batting lineup, with contributions from the lower-middle order and tailenders proving invaluable. The opening partnership remains a potential area of vulnerability, but that too depends on England’s performance with the new ball.

England has a genuine opportunity to disrupt Australia’s reign of dominance. Can they?

Following the retirements of Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt, England’s pace attack has got young blood with quicks Lauren Bell and Issy Wong leading the way. The two have sent stern messages Australia’s way, but the ultimate test lies in whether their performance on the field can match their rhetoric. Kate Cross will spearhead the pace attack, and it remains to be seen how effectively she can challenge the batters, while with Sophie Ecclestone, be assured of disciplined bowling.

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Much like Australia, England’s batting lineup is a key strength, especially their middle order consisting of Heather Knight, Nat Sciver-Brunt, Sophia Dunkley, and Amy Jones. Tammy Beaumont has been in good form recently, although she can sometimes be a nervy starter, while fellow opener Emma Lamb has struggled for form. On paper, the contest appears even, but England’s pace attack gives them a slight edge over the Australians, who, despite being world champions, haven’t looked like a class above the rest in Test match cricket, having had their fair share of “what if” moments.

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