Kiwi teen in focus as Stars back experience | cricket.com.au

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Kiwi teen in focus as Stars back experience

Southern Stars wary of New Zealand's teenage leg-spinner ahead of series-deciding match against the White Ferns

Australia will draw on their recent experience of prevailing in must-win one-day internationals when they meet New Zealand in the third and deciding clash at Mt Maunganui’s Bay Oval on Sunday.

Thursday’s four-wicket victory saw the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars square the series 1-1, setting up a Rose Bowl decider on Sunday.

Quick Single: Stars hold their nerve to keep series alive

With an 18-year unbeaten streak in trans-Tasman ODI series on the line, Australia captain Meg Lanning believes her team will thrive under the pressure of another must-win game.

Last February, Australia also lost their opening match to the White Ferns before recording back-to-back victories – also at Bay Oval – to retain the Rose Bowl.

And in the ODI component of the 2015 Ashes tour, the Aussies were 1-0 down in the three-match series before claiming it 2-1.

Southern Stars keep Rose Bowl series alive

"We play elite sport to play the big games, and this is a big game coming up against good opposition, so we’re looking forward to the challenge," Lanning said after the Australian squad enjoyed a beach recovery session on Friday morning.

"We’ve been in this position before and we know we can perform under pressure, so this is another chance for us to do that against New Zealand on Sunday.

"It was really nice to get back to winning yesterday.

"It was a really good team effort and hopefully we can carry that momentum into the next game.

"Our comeback (after losing in Auckland) showed some good character from the side."

Lanning scored consecutive hundreds in the must-win clashes against NZ last year and she knows it will take a similar effort from at least one of her batters to ensure the coveted trans-Tasman trophy stays in Australian hands on Sunday.

Lanning backs her side's big-game experience

Vice-captain Alex Blackwell (65) and opener Beth Mooney (57) both scored half-centuries in the second ODI, helped by Lanning’s 44 and Alyssa Healy’s 36.

Quick Single: We've got plenty left in the tank, says Blackwell

"We would have loved for someone to get a nice big score on Thursday," she said.

"We had a couple of chances for that to happen from a few different players, but the good thing is everyone stepped up at different times and chipped in, which is what got us over the line in the end.

"I thought the bowlers did quite a good job bowling first to restrict them to 250.

"The big thing for the batters is for someone to take control and get that big score, because that’ll make it a lot easier to chase down totals or set a big score."

Lanning said the batting group would pay particular attention to 16-year-old leg-spinner Amelia Kerr, who claimed four of the six Southern Stars wickets to fall on Thursday. The teenager outsmarted the Aussie skipper and Elyse Villani with back-to-back deliveries before later picking up the scalps of both Mooney and Healy.

Sixteen-year-old NZ leggie takes two in two balls

"She’s got very good skills and she’s a very young bowler who bowls her craft really well," Lanning, who was deceived by Kerr’s wrong’un, said.

Quick Single: Kerr living out her teenage dream

"She’s going to be a star of the future, so she’s certainly someone we’ll have to think about heading into the next game.

"We do look back after every game and see what we could have done differently, so we’ll have a look at her and come up with a bit of a plan.

"We scored off her well, but we lost wickets same time so with a few little tweaks here and there, I think we’ll be fine."

Australia are also sweating on the fitness of allrounder Ellyse Perry, who bowled just four overs upon her return from a six-week hamstring injury layoff before hurting her elbow while diving in an attempt to prevent a boundary off her own bowling.

Perry left the field for treatment and did not return, nor did she take her usual place at No.4 in the batting order, with the tourists fortunately not needing to call upon her as they passed New Zealand’s 8-253 in the 48th over.

"She hasn’t pulled up too badly but we’ll have to wait and see if she’s available for the next game,” Lanning said.

We've got plenty left in the tank: Blackwell

"Hopefully she is, she’s a very important player and it’s disappointing that she’s picked up this injury, but we’ll have to see how that pans out."

Should Perry be unable to play, her spot in the Australia XI could be filled by one of two pace-bowling options in Lauren Cheatle or Megan Schutt, or by leg-spinner Kristen Beams, who was omitted from Thursday’s XI in favour of debutant off-spinner Ashleigh Gardner.

"It’s hard to tell (if there’ll be changes),” Lanning said.

"We’ll have a look at the wicket tomorrow and see what that tells us.

"The good thing is we’ve got lots of different options and anyone who comes in can do a role for us."

A live stream of the third and final Rose Bowl ODI will be available to watch at cricket.com.au and on the Cricket Australia Live app.

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