A slow-bowling spin-off could be on the cards when Australia and India go play off for a spot in the Women’s World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday.
Whoever walks away with the two points in Bristol will have cemented their spot in the finals, while the loser must seek a final-round win to qualify.
Quick Single: The race to the semi-finals
Both sides’ respective spin attacks have been dominant in the tournament to date, with Australia’s Kristen Beams (9 wickets) and Jess Jonassen (7 wickets) sitting alongside India’s Ekta Bisht (9) and Deepti Sharma (7) in the event’s top 10 wicket takers.
Both teams have also effectively shut down opposition batters with their pace-off tactics and after Australia were tied down by England left-arm orthodox Alex Hartley on Sunday, Lanning knows they cannot afford to let the same thing happen against India’s tweakers.
“I think it’s important that with the bat we be very positive against the spinners,” she said.
“If you hang around a little bit and try and see them off, you can get into a bit of trouble and get bogged down.
“We’ve spoken about having that approach with the bat throughout our tournament so far and we didn’t do that as well as we could have in the last game.
“We’re keen to come out and put as much pressure on their bowlers as we can by being really attacking.
“The role of our spinners is to do the opposite and try and keep them quiet.
“We’re looking forward to the battle tomorrow, I think it’ll be good to watch.”
India have only beaten Australia eight times in 41 one-dayers, but Lanning knows there’s plenty to be wary of in their XI.
“They’ve shown they’re a very strong team and capable of beating anyone,” she said.
“Their batting line-up has been very strong, Smriti Mandhana has been very good for them up the top and Mithali Raj is a world-class player.
“We know they’ll be tough opposition for us, they’ve had some really good games throughout the tournament.
“We’re going to have to be on our game, that’s for sure.”
Lanning was giving away nothing when asked if Australia would continue to employ the three-pronged spin attack they’ve favoured throughout the tournament.
Jess Jonassen, Ashleigh Gardner and Kristen Beams joined seamers Ellyse Perry and Megan Schutt in the XI against England, but Australia could turn to leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington or seamers Sarah Aley and Belinda Vakarewa to get an edge against India.
“Every game we’ve come into, we’ve looked at our bowling attack,” Lanning said.
“It’s just turned out that three spinners has been the one we’ve gone with.
“We haven’t decided what we’ll go with tomorrow, there’s a lot of weather around today so we’ll have to see how that plays out.
“We feel like we’ve got good variety and everyone can do a good job.”
Lanning did not train with the rest of her Australian teammates on Tuesday, but said the chronic shoulder injury she has been carrying throughout the tournament would not keep her from the clash against India.
“(The shoulder) is going okay,” Lanning said.
“I’ve had a couple of days off now since the last game and the plan is to play tomorrow.
“It did (give her trouble) at different times against England but that’s the way it’s been for the last couple of games.
“We’re trying to manage it as best we can. I feel like I’ve been able to bat reasonably well with it, which is important, so it’s just an ongoing thing.”
Meanwhile, Lanning said there was no added pressure on the Australians, who need to win one of their remaining two matches to make the semi-finals.
“I don’t think there’s any more than any other game,” she said.
“It’s a World Cup so every game has a lot of pressure attached to it.”
Australia’s showdown with India will be broadcast live on Fox Sports and live streamed on Nine’s 9Now, while ABC Grandstand will have radio coverage.
Women's World Cup Guide
Australia World Cup squad: Sarah Aley, Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell (vc), Nicole Bolton, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Meg Lanning (c), Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.