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Lanning's Stars eye next ODI challenge

Australia's attention now turns to South Africa following the emphatic series sweep in Sri Lanka

After completing a dominant one-day international series sweep against Sri Lanka, the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars now begin to turn their attention to the side’s next 50-over assignment.

Australia will return home tomorrow – following this afternoon’s sole Twenty20 in Colombo – to begin their preparations for a busy summer highlighted by the five-match ODI campaign against South Africa in November.

That series will also include the final three matches of the ICC Championship with Australia possibly needing to win two of those matches to take out the inaugural title, depending on the results in the upcoming series between West Indies and England.

Southern Stars v South Africa Schedule

South Africa have never beaten the reigning world champions in international cricket, but Southern Stars skipper Meg Lanning is wary of the improving opposition heading into next year’s World Cup in England.

Highlights: Stars complete series clean sweep

“They’re a very dangerous team with some high-end talent,” Lanning told cricket.com.au in Colombo.

“They’re creating a lot of depth as well. We’re certainly going to have to play well.

“We’ve been focusing on ourselves and trying to nail down how we want to play our one-day cricket heading into the World Cup next year.

“We’ve only got a certain number of games until we get there.”

Australia were rarely troubled during the four-match series against Sri Lanka, but Lanning was pleased with her side’s improvement throughout the four matches.

The tourists were given somewhat of a scare in the series opener when they lost six wickets in pursuit of Sri Lanka’s meagre target of 77, while they failed to bowl out the hosts in the second match at Rangiri Dambulla Stadium.

The Australians were far more clinical in Colombo to wrap up the series with two comprehensive victories.

“We were a little bit scratchy in the first couple of games and didn’t really meet the standards that we wanted to get to,” Lanning said.

“I thought the last two games were great. We had some really good individual performances, but as a group we performed really well.

“It’s nice to finish the ODI series with some really strong performances.”

While rating her own performance on the island as ‘a little bit disappointing’ – with 107 runs at 35.67 – Lanning believes the top order is as settled as it has been in a long time following a summer that saw various combinations tested up top.

Western Australia pair Elyse Villani and Nicole Bolton averaged 72.67 for the opening wicket in the final three matches of the series to set a sound platform for Lanning, Ellyse Perry and vice-captain Alex Blackwell to then build upon.

The series was capped off with a classy century by the left-handed Bolton on a tiring pitch to set up the 137-run win in the final ODI.

Bolton, Beams dominate Sri Lanka in fourth ODI

“The conditions are tough here to get set, so I thought our openers did a great job to give us a platform to really build in those last 10 overs,” Lanning said when asked about the most pleasing aspect of the series victory.

“Villani and Bolton have had patches where they’ve done well, but this series they seemed really set and disciplined in the way they’re going about it.

“It was great to see Nicole Bolton move on and get that big hundred which was something we spoke about.”

The Southern Stars conclude their tour of the island nation with a T20 at Colombo’s SSC Ground from 6:30pm AEST.