Australia 5 for 325 (Haynes 96, Healy 87, Kerr 3-50) beat New Zealand 93 all out (Satterthwaite 41, Molineux 2-2, Gardner 2-11) by 232 runs
That Australia would conclude a domineering home series against New Zealand with their second highest ever ODI total on home shores, on the way to a record-setting 21st consecutive ODI victory, was startling enough. That they would achieve those feats with a 232-run win, without their captain Meg Lanning as well as their famed allrounder Ellyse Perry in the XI, was downright unnerving for the rest of the world.
Lanning’s absence, due to a right hamstring strain sustained during her unbeaten century in the second of three ODIs on Monday, was the talk of Allan Border Field on Wednesday morning, giving New Zealand a chance to pressure a batting order shorn of its most vaunted name. Certainly it was enough to encourage Sophie Devine to send the hosts in upon winning the toss despite a slowing and ageing surface.
But the response was that of a team far more enthused than overawed by such challenges. The acting captain Rachael Haynes and Alyssa Healy combined for a commanding opening stand worth 144 in a little more than half the available overs, before Haynes and the middle order accelerated fearfully to take the Australians to 325 – only a gargantuan 397 against Pakistan in the amateur days of 1997 surpassed it among matches at home.
In the midst of the punishment, including 104 from the final 10 overs as Ashleigh Gardner, Beth Mooney and Lanning’s replacement Tahlia McGrath made merry, there was also room for development: an occasionally halting but equally promising stay at No. 3 from the 18-year-old allrounder Annabel Sutherland, as she added 78 in 87 balls with Haynes.
Asked to chase a distant 326, the touring side were in trouble virtually from the start, as Devine was cramped into pulling Megan Schutt into the trap of two midwickets placed for her, departing the scene for a disconsolate first-ball duck. There onwards, the Australian bowlers did not relent, as Jess Jonassen and Georgia Wareham particularly enjoyed the expansive spin occasionally on offer.
There had been far more optimism for New Zealand early on, as an overcast morning offered the chance for swing, and the knowledge that Healy and Haynes were to be followed by the callow Sutherland rather than the hamstrung Lanning.
But they were unable to find a way through, allowing Healy and Haynes to punish any errors in line and length, and build with something approaching impunity as both passed 50 and Healy reached the outskirts of a century. Thirteen short of a century, she skied wristspinner Amelia Kerr, clearing the way for Sutherland’s entry.
The next period saw New Zealand regain some control of the scoreboard as Sutherland struggled to rotate strike with her correct and upright technique, only for Haynes to intervene with some aggressive blows to get the run rate going again. With time, Sutherland began to join in, but was bowled behind her pads attempting to sweep Kerr just as the final 10 overs began.
Haynes’ steadfast display merited a century, but was ended on 96 by a marginal lbw call when she, too, knelt to sweep Kerr. Mooney might also easily have followed lbw, saved only by a little doubt over whether the ball had pitched outside leg stump before looking likely to crash into middle. Kerr’s wristspin skills had again been very evident, but upon the conclusion of her spell, having seen Gardner wretchedly dropped by Natalie Dodd, the Australians freed their arms.
New Zealand’s pursuit was never more than a cursory one, save for Amy Satterthwaite’s 41. On a slow and spinning surface, against bowling options ideally suited to the conditions, they were completely overwhelmed. The evenness of Australia’s display was underlined by the fact that wickets were shared among every member of the attack, rounding off a massive victory without their two biggest names.
Twenty-one ODI wins in a row equalled the record set by the Australian men’s team in the 2000s; seldom if ever were Ricky Ponting’s side ever quite as dominant as this.
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