Allrounder Ashleigh Gardner finally hit her straps with the bat against Ireland, scoring her first fifty of a long northern hemisphere tour
Gardner finds batting groove after dominant bowling tour
After dominating with the ball throughout Australia’s seven-week stint in the northern hemisphere, Ashleigh Gardner hit her straps with bat in hand on Tuesday – but the allrounder remains unsatisfied.
Gardner’s blazing 65 off 39 balls in the second ODI against Ireland, a knock that featured three sixes, was her first score above fifty since leaving Australia.
Having received the Peden-Archdale medal as the most dominant player of the multi-format Ashes for her 23 wickets, the 25-year-old was gratified to have gone on after making another start.
But she still wondered what might have been, after being bowled with seven overs remaining in Australia’s innings.
"I left quite a few runs out there which is disappointing, but I guess that's cricket and the brand of cricket that I play is I'm trying to take the game on and I'm trying to move the game forward," Gardner told cricket.com.au after play.
"So I have to live with it but in hindsight, I wish I didn't play that type of shot to get out, because I certainly got myself out and it was mine for the taking to score as many runs as I could and build a really good partnership with Annabel (Sutherland).
"So, quite frustrating, but we get the win and that's all that matters."
Gardner pointed to the influence of Ellyse Perry for helping her settle into her innings.
Perry anchored Australia’s innings with 91 – her third-straight ODI half-century – and shared in a 54-run stand with Gardner.
"I knew that I had to be patient out there and (Ireland) probably tested my patience a little bit, but batting with someone like Pez who had been out there for a little while, she was just talking me through it, knowing that I could get frustrated," Gardner said.
"Because they do bowl a little bit slower, they bowl differently to what we're used to.
"Unfortunately, I don't learn from my lessons and I was impatient and played a shot that wasn't there.
"But it was nice to spend some time out in the middle and put some runs on the board."
Australia overall put in an improved performance against lower-ranked Ireland after losing the ODI leg of the Ashes 2-1, posting 7-321 before bowling the hosts out for 168.
Gardner was again miserly with her off-spin, maintaining an economy rate of 3.5 from her six overs and snaring the key wicket of opener Gaby Lewis.
"We'll certainly take that … I think we've played decent cricket over the last six or seven weeks, but we probably haven't strung enough momentum together to get those wins," Gardner said.
"For us to finally string that together today, scoring over 300 was really important for us.
"We always speak about in 50-over cricket to get to that 300 mark.
"And then for us to go out there and take nine wickets in the end and get the win was super important."
Gardner and her Australian teammates have one more opportunity to impress in Friday’s third and final one-dayer.
Having shown signs of their dominant brand of cricket on Tuesday, Gardner wants Australia to finish the series on an even stronger note.
"It's a good chance for people to potentially try some things … the last six or seven weeks have been pretty hectic and pretty full on and (we produced) the cricket that we wouldn't have liked to have played throughout the Ashes.
"We scraped away with retaining the Ashes but we know that we've got one more game here and I would love to see us just play really fearless cricket and really take the game on.
"We know what the Irish are going to throw out at us and it's just being able to fight fire with fire and be able to come on top and just play the brand of cricket that we have been playing up until now."
CommBank ODI Tour of Ireland 2023
First ODI: Match abandoned
Second ODI: Australia won by 153 runs
Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Heather Graham, Grace Harris, Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham
Ireland squad: Laura Delany (c), Ava Canning, Georgina Dempsey, Amy Hunter, Arlene Kelly, Gaby Lewis, Louise Little, Jane Maguire, Aimee Maguire, Cara Murray, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron.