Following Meg Lanning’s international retirement, we celebrate the Aussie great by counting down her top 10 centuries in the green and gold
Ten of the best: Lanning’s greatest hundreds
On December 30, 2010, an 18-year-old Meghann Moira Lanning represented her country for the first time.
Across the 13 years since that T20 International against New Zealand in Nelson, Lanning went on to forge a reputation as one of the greatest batters and leaders the game has ever seen.
She amassed 8352 runs across all formats to become Australia’s all-time most prolific scorer in the women’s game, while her knack for converting a fifty into a hundred meant that just seven years into her career, she had already struck more ODI tons than any woman before her.
Lanning walks away from the international game with 17 hundreds to her name – 15 in ODIs and two in T20Is.
England great Charlotte Edwards and New Zealand superstar Suzie Bates are equal second on the list, with 13 centuries apiece.
Lanning’s first century, against England in Perth, came aged 18 and in just her second innings, and until Glenn Maxwell’s whirlwind ton against Netherlands last month, she held the record for fastest one-day hundred by an Australian for her 45-ball effort against New Zealand at North Sydney Oval in 2012.
Here we rate Lanning's top 10 hundreds, based on the context of the match in which they were scored, the quality of the opposition, or the unique place they hold in the record books.
10. 121 (146b, 12x4, 4x6) v West Indies, 2019
Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua
Lanning overcame sweltering conditions in Antigua to break new ground alongside Alyssa Healy in Australia’s historic maiden ODI on Caribbean soil.
Lanning and Healy struck twin centuries, posting the team’s second-highest ODI partnership in the process, putting on 225 runs for the second wicket.
The Australia captain’s 121 came against a depleted West Indian attack missing spearhead Shakera Selman and the dangerous Deandra Dottin, but managing to overcome the difficult conditions at Antigua’s Coolidge Cricket Ground – and doing so in intense heat and humidity – made it particularly satisfying for Lanning.
"It’s right up there to be honest, just because I had to grind it out and it wasn’t very free-flowing at any point," she told cricket.com.au of her 145-ball innings. "I felt relatively scratchy … It was a tricky wicket, there wasn’t a lot of pace in it and there was some spin as well.
"It was one of my slower hundreds but that’s what the conditions required and to be able to bat with Midge (Healy), who was going along a bit quicker, took the pressure off a bit.
"I was able to absorb some pressure and then attack when I needed to … so it was a pleasing effort in some hot conditions. I was certainly struggling towards the back end there."
9. 126 (65b, 18x4, 4x6) v Ireland, 2014
Sylhet International Cricket Stadium
Lanning etched her name into the history books aged 22 when she smashed the then-highest individual score in women's T20I history, paving the way to a record-breaking 78-run win over Ireland during the group stage of the 2014 T20 World Cup.
Having recently been appointed Australia’s youngest-ever captain, Lanning became the third woman, and the first Australian, to score a T20I hundred, with her 65-ball 126 carrying her team to a mammoth 4-191.
She hammered the Irish attack, carting them for 18 fours and four sixes before being dismissed from the second-last ball of the innings.
8. 101no (96b, 9x4, 3x6) v New Zealand, 2020
Allan Border Field, Brisbane
Lanning ensured Australia’s 20-year hold on the Rose Bowl would continue – and Australia’s ODI win streak would stretch to 20 – with an unbeaten century to seal a series win over New Zealand.
Anchoring proceedings, Lanning put aside an apparent hamstring issue to team up with the in-form Rachael Haynes (82 from 89) for a 117-run second-wicket that proved decisive in pursuit of the White Ferns’ 9-252.
Living up to her reputation as a ‘chasing queen’, Lanning picked off easy singles, launched leg-spinner Amelia Kerr over wide long on for six and generally appeared immovable despite wickets falling at the other end.
At one point it appeared Lanning would be stranded short of a century, but Nicola Carey blocked out five balls to allow her captain a chance to reach her century.
From the first ball of the 46th over, she did exactly that, the cutting through gully to bring up her 14th ODI century.
7. 104 (98b, 13x4) v England, 2015
Bristol County Ground
Australia bounced back after dropping the first ODI of the 2015 multi-format Ashes thanks to Lanning’s sixth ODI century.
After Elyse Villani and Nicole Bolton put on 65 for the first wicket, Lanning capitalised on their solid foundation alongside Ellyse Perry.
Five fours either side of the bowling powerplay ignited Lanning’s innings, taking Australia past 200, and she swiftly skipped away from the Devil’s number of 87, plotting a brace of boundaries behind square leg before cutting backward of point to reach her century and secure a standing ovation from her teammates and the healthy crowd in attendance.
Lanning’s 104 took her team to 6-259, a total England fell 63 runs shy of thanks to Megan Schutt’s 4-47.
6. 127 (135b, 10x4, 2x6) v New Zealand, 2016
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
A second straight century from Lanning sealed another Rose Bowl series win for Australia, in a thriller against the White Ferns.
The trans-Tasman rivals had split the first two matches, with Lanning’s seventh ton levelling the series just two days earlier at the same venue.
Set an imposing 244 for victory, New Zealand new-ball pair Lea Tahuhu and Morna Nielson shackled Australia early and removed opener Nicole Bolton for a duck in the second over.
After a tentative start Lanning became increasingly aggressive, bringing up her half-century from 57 balls and combining in two outstanding partnerships, first with Ellyse Perry (35) and then with Alex Blackwell (50 not out) to guide her team into a winning position.
While she was denied the chance to score the winning runs after bringing up her eighth ODI hundred, dismissed with four runs required, it mattered little when Healy struck a boundary to seal the series with eight balls to spare.
5. 104 (118b, 8x4, 1x6) v England, 2011
WACA Ground, Perth
Lanning’s first ODI century came just three days after making her debut in the format, and just nine days into her international career.
The 18-year-old Victorian, playing in her first Ashes series, struck a brilliant unbeaten 103 to ensure Australia made short work of their target of 215, reaching it with more than eight overs to spare.
In the process she became the youngest Australian, male or female, to score an international ton.
If Lanning was intimidated opening the batting against an England attack featuring Isa Guha and Jenny Gunn, it did not show as she hit eight fours and a six, pacing her innings sublimely as she shared in a 151-run opening stand with Australia legend – and now Australia coach – Shelley Nitschke.
Then-Australia captain Alex Blackwell noted at the time: "Meg is only 18 and playing just her second one-day game, but batted with experience beyond her years tonight and it is a credit to all the hard work she has been doing."
4. 152no (135b, 19x4, 1x6) v Sri Lanka, 2017
Bristol County Ground
Coming to the crease with Australia 1-5 and needing to achieve the highest run chase in Women's World Cup history to defeat Sri Lanka, Lanning never looked flustered as she effortlessly peeled off her 11th one-day international century.
The Australian skipper had spent very little time in the middle since arriving in the United Kingdom, having been rested from Australia's three warm-ups before being dismissed for 12 in the tournament opener against West Indies.
She was also carrying a serious shoulder injury, one that was causing her significant pain and would require a reconstruction after the tournament and sideline Lanning for seven months.
But it didn't show in her clinical display, as Lanning effortlessly brought up her century from 99 deliveries, before passing her previous highest one-day score of 135no.
She finished unbeaten on 152, ensuring what had loomed as a difficult – and record-breaking – run chase for Australia looked more like a walk in the park. She ended the match emphatically, with the first and only six of her innings.
3. 104no (116b, 7x4, 1x6) v New Zealand, 2017
Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui
There’s something about Lanning and Tauranga’s Bay Oval. She scored the third of her three tons at the venue in Match 2017, in a display that was pure Lanning: a tricky run chase in a must-win series decider.
With the ODI series against New Zealand tied 1-1 and the Rose Bowl trophy on the line, Lanning scored a match-winning 104no to help Australia to a final over, five-wicket victory at Mount Maunganui. It was her 10th ODI century, passing the record held by former England captain Charlotte Edwards.
The innings was not without controversy; when Lanning was on 35 she played and missed a delivery from leg-spinner Kerr, with ‘keeper Rachel Priest believing she had the Australia captain out stumped. But the square leg umpire was unmoved and with no video umpire available, there was no avenue for review. It promoted a heated discussion between Lanning and Priest, with Lanning – who had her back to the stumps when the bails were removed – standing her ground.
Reflecting on the knock in 2018, Lanning told cricket.com.au why it ranks among her favourite career moments: "I don't take too much notice of records, for me it’s about winning games for Australia.
"That was a perfect occasion where we needed someone to step up and anchor the innings and bat through and I just really enjoyed that game.
"There was a little bit of controversy … but the umpire said it was not out and there was no video, so I don’t know how he could have overturned his decision.
"I don't often fight with opposition players, but there were a few words exchanged during that one which probably fired me up a fair bit. That was a pretty satisfying hundred."
2. 103 (50b, 18x4, 3x6) v New Zealand, 2012
North Sydney Oval
Before Chelmsford, there was North Sydney Oval.
New Zealand had posted a meagre 177 all out, thanks to the efforts of spin trio Erin Osborne, Lisa Sthalekar and Jess Jonassen.
A 20-year-old Meg Lanning had already scored two hundreds in her first 13 ODIs, but no one saw this innings coming.
Opening the batting alongside Healy, she faced three dots before hitting her first boundary from the fourth ball of the innings.
Seven of the first nine deliveries she faced were dot balls.
Then, she unleashed on New Zealand pace bowler Sian Ruck, smashing three fours and a six from the fifth over of the chase. Lanning was away.
Four consecutive fours off Nicola Browne took Lanning to 44 off 22, before a maximum off spinner Morna Nielsen made it 50 off 23.
No White Ferns bowler was safe and Lanning was unstoppable, reaching her third one-day century off just 45 balls – a mark that remained the fastest ODI ton by an Australian until Glenn Maxwell broke the record with a 40-ball hundred against the Netherlands last month.
Her onslaught finally ended when Amy Satterthwaite held on to a catch off the bowling of Browne, leaving all those at North Sydney Oval to try and comprehend what they had just witnessed.
"It was one of those days where it all happened and I couldn’t do anything wrong… it doesn’t happen very often," Lanning recalled in 2018.
"I hit a few over the top and then I just kept going.
"I’ve never batted like that since in any game I’ve played, having it click like that.
"Cricket can be so hard at times and on that day it was so easy, so when you do get times where you feel like you’re in control, you want to make the most of it."
Megan Schutt, who made her ODI debut in that match, immediately realised just how special her new teammate was.
"She made her superfast (45-ball) hundred in the Rose Bowl against New Zealand and I was like, 'who is this woman?!'," Schutt recalled.
"I had only ever really played against her in Victorian stuff, and she had obviously dominated then but the whole Victorian team dominated us every single time anyway.
"It was when I stepped up to Australian level and I just saw the way she could hit the ball and then later on her leadership qualities, I was pretty amazed."
1. 134no (120b) v England, 2019
Essex County Ground, Chelmsford
Australia had dominated the multi-format Ashes up to that point, holding an 8-2 lead after three one-dayers and the one-off Test, but they needed to win at least one of three T20Is to ensure they claimed the Ashes outright.
Standing in Australia’s way was England’s incredible record at their ‘Fortress – the Essex County Ground – where they had never been beaten.
Sent in by the hosts, Lanning soon found herself at the crease after Alyssa Healy was dismissed five balls into the game. She made an ominous start, hitting back-to-back boundaries in the fourth over and clearing the ropes in the sixth.
Her half-century came off just 24 balls as England's much-vaunted bowling attack felt her wrath, and while she was handed a life on 85 when Tammy Beaumont put down a regulation chance at point, there was little else the hosts could do to stem the flow of runs.
Her century came up, fittingly, with a six.
The relentless attack continued, as Lanning cleared the boundary four more times to lead her team to their highest ever T20 total, and setting a new world record for highest individual score in a women's T20 in the process (one that would be broken by Healy just months later).
"It just clicked," Lanning said. "I look back on that innings and I played some shots against (left-arm spinner) Sophie Ecclestone which I couldn't normally play, I hit a six over long-on which was very unusual for me, but it all seemed to come together at once.
"You think where you might hit the ball, and it eventuates every time.
"It's almost like you know where the bowlers are going to bowl and where you can hit each ball (before it happens) … you just feel you're a step ahead of the game. That very rarely happens."
The context of the game made the century particularly memorable for Lanning.
"It is right up there, because of the situation in the series and because England are such a strong opposition," she explained.
"It was good to do it against a team that is particularly challenging and for it to be the night we won the Ashes in pretty significant fashion, that's why it's so special."