Aussies out to up the ante in white-ball leg

Stung by a heavy Test defeat, Australia's ODI outfit is out to reassert their dominance against India in a three-game series

Australia have flicked the switch to white-ball mode and will bring their usual aggressive style in their three-game ODI series against India, allrounder Ashliegh Gardner says.

While spin dominated the one-off Test, where India recorded an emphatic eight-wicket victory, Gardner expects batting-friendly conditions for the 50-over leg of the tour, which begins at Wankhede Stadium on Thursday.

The series will provide the reigning ODI World Cup champions with a marker of how they are shaping up for their 2025 title defence, with the tournament to be staged in India, as they enter a new era under the leadership of Alyssa Healy and Tahlia McGrath.

Australia acknowledged a need to play with more aggression following their 1-2 defeat in the ODI leg of the Ashes in July, and they will not be deterred by the tricky batting conditions they faced in the Test, or by the quick turnaround between formats.

"Test-match cricket is very different than the one-day stuff over here ... it's generally pretty flat," Gardner said on Wednesday.

"You don't necessarily get the ball turning or staying extremely low like it did throughout the Test match at times.

"In the white-ball stuff, conditions normally lean towards taking the aggressive option, and I know that's certainly what we're going to do.

"We've been so successful in those formats for such a long period of time, so it's certainly something that we're not going to shy away from.

"We know that it's going to be pretty good to bat on … (so) being really positive with our intent, that's going to be the most important thing."

This will be Australia's first ODI series in India since March 2018.

That series was the start of a golden period for the Australian team – their victory in the opening game in Baroda sparked a record-breaking run of 26 consecutive wins in the format.

Healy hit her first international ton during that series, a breakthrough moment that unlocked a whole new level in the wicketkeeper-batters' game.

After the bitter disappointment of their early exit at the 2017 ODI World Cup, that tour saw a newly focused group bond, begin living their new fearless ethos and start a journey that would deliver three consecutive T20 World Cups and the 2022 ODI World Cup.

This time, Australia are in the middle of a World Cup cycle but find themselves entering a new era following the retirement of Meg Lanning, which followed the 2022 departures of coach Matthew Mott and vice-captain Rachael Haynes.

The timing of the tour also means the Australian team has spent Christmas overseas for the first time since 2004.

December 25th saw the touring party – which swelled to more than 50 people after family members of players and staff flew into Mumbai – celebrate at a lunch function, after the team had exchanged secret Santa gifts earlier in the morning.

Gardner said while it was an unusual experience, it was also one she believed would bring the group closer together.

"It was obviously a little bit different, but just as special … we spend so much time away from our family and friends, it's almost like we're with family and friends being with this team.

"But they did a really good job in making sure that our day was really special.

"It's been really nice to connect on that level outside of cricketing stuff, because I think once you've got that really good connection and you're enjoying yourself, you're going to be playing cricket because you can trust your teammates and you know that you can have fun as well.

"It's been an interesting time away, but I think it's been a really good one for our group."

Australia's CommBank Tour of India

December 21-24: Test match, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

December 28: First ODI, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

December 30: Second ODI, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

January 2: Third ODI, Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

January 5: First T20I, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai

January 7: Second T20I, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai

January 9: Third T20I, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai

Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Tahlia McGrath (vc), Darcie Brown, Lauren Cheatle (Test only), Heather Graham, Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris (T20s only), Jess Jonassen, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham

India Test squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Jemimah Rodrigues, Shafali Verma, Deepti Sharma, Yastika Bhatia (wk), Richa Ghosh (wk), Sneh Rana, Shubha Satheesh, Harleen Deol, Saika Ishaque, Renuka Singh Thakur, Titas Sadhu, Meghna Singh, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Pooja Vastrakar