The 2023 Ashes series has got Isa Guha dreaming back to 2005 and the dual great escapes England pulled off 18 years ago.
While the men’s victory in 2005 is well remembered, the women produced a dramatic series of their own.
After a draw in the first of a two-Test series, Guha put on 83 runs for the tenth wicket with Katherine Sciver-Brunt to set up a six-wicket win and England’s first Women’s Ashes triumph since 1963.
“I remember that summer vividly,” the former seam bowler said, who is supporting Sage, the Official Insights Partner of the Hundred, and their Sage Small Business XI competition.
“It was the best summer of our lives and being able to do it at the same time as the men was incredible.
“I guess the only difference was people didn’t know we were playing back then but they do now.
“We were feeding massively off what the guys were doing, I remember that we would get back from a Test match and watch the end of the men’s day and we just be so boosted by what they were doing.
“It just felt like a one team vibe and that’s what I feel like this summer is as well.
“Having John Lewis [England Women head coach] come in from the England men’s dressing room, I think has definitely filtered through to the way the girls want to play their cricket and we’re seeing that on the field that’s definitely been translated.”
This time around, England Women went 6-0 down in their multi-format series to the all-conquering Australians to leave them needing to win all of the remaining five matches to wrestle back the trophy for the first time since 2014.
Two wins in the T20I series followed to hand a shell-shocked Australia their first series defeat since 2017 before skipper Heather Knight masterminded a win in the first ODI to draw her side level.
The arch-rivals play again on Sunday in Southampton before heading to Taunton on Tuesday, to see the Women’s Ashes sewn up before the men’s series resumes at Old Trafford on Wednesday with Australia leading 2-1.
And for Guha it is both series being in the balance that is reminiscent of 2005, where England Women secured their Ashes at the end of August with the men matching them two weeks later.
“This year, the women won first to keep their series alive and then it was the men and hopefully the men have been inspired by what the girls are doing,” Guha added, speaking to promote The Sage Small Business XI which will see one business win free advertising and business advice worth £60,000 with 10 runners-up also receiving prizes.
“And if they can win on Sunday and Tuesday, then that that leads into a very nice Test match at Old Trafford.
“There definitely feels like a lot more synchronicity between the two teams compared to 2005.
“But I remember that summer and it really was just the stuff of dreams. And that’s what this feels like to.”
England Women have drawn in record crowds across the Ashes, with over 60,000 attending the three-match T20 series with all three ODIs already sold out.
The matches have been put at higher-profile venues than previous series, with Guha believing that the same must continue in England and around the world.
“I think it’s important to apply pressure in that regard because it’s been proven now,” she said.
“It’s been proven that it can be successful, and they can get the crowds and get the eyeballs.
“It can be hard, and the fact that it’s the Ashes makes it even greater viewing because of the levels of competition.
“That for me is what the next step, the global cricket landscape and how competitive teams are being around the world.
“That’s important to keep an eye on for the future of women’s cricket.
“But, I think that there is no turning back now and long may it continue in the overall sense of women’s sport in the UK.
“There’s a really big wave of positivity around women’s sport and it’s been a long time coming.”
The Sage Small Business XI competition will see a small business owner be part of The Hundred as well as winning a £60k boost to their business. Enter now at www.sage.co.uk/TheHundred