Australian skipper Lanning unfazed by chasing pack
The typically unflappable Meg Lanning couldn't resist a wry smile at the thought of England considering her all-conquering Australia beatable.
Australia have held the Ashes since 2015 and will kick off the latest multi-format series with a Test at Trent Bridge on June 22.
England bowler Issy Wong started the pre-Ashes war of words by implying Lanning's charges were no longer the fearsome opponent they'd once been.
"It's a really good time to actually go at them and say, 'Right, you are the best team in history, but you've a couple of new faces in here and let's see if you're as good as you were five years ago'," Wong told English media earlier this month.
When asked about the comments, Australian skipper Lanning replied: "I did see that article and comments. I think it's great.
"It's going to be a really exciting series. England are playing a little bit of a different style, I guess," she told reporters.
"They're talking about the style that they're playing, they've got a new coach as well and unearthed some new players within their squad, they've gone through a bit of change. So, we feel confident going over there."
Lanning believed Australia's mix of youth and experience kept everyone on their toes.
"There's a really good vibe around the squad and certainly wanting to keep pushing to have more success," she said.
"I haven't sensed anything that shows that we're sort of sitting and waiting.
"We know that we need to keep getting better to stay ahead of the game and teams are chasing us.
"So the Ashes would be a really good early look at what that might be."
Teammate Jess Jonassen was adamant Australia wouldn't rest on their laurels and felt a responsibility to set the benchmark as other countries attempted to play catch-up.
"It's always nice and enjoyable to win games and be out the front, but it's really challenging to try and stay there," she said.
The tour of India later in the year will give Jonassen and the current Australian team an extra incentive: the opportunity to play a Test match there for the first time.
"Each season or each year adds something extra that you're really looking forward to," Jonassen said.
"For us last year it was the Commonwealth Games. And this year, it's that idea of playing a Test match in India.
"Being over there in India over that Christmas/New Year period will be different for us.
"We're normally back here in Australia on home soil so that will be another added challenge but one I know our team is really looking forward to."