Aussie new breed show same old ruthless streak

Australia's new crop of stars, speaheaded by Annabel Sutherland and Phoebe Litchfield, put in a nerveless performance in a thrilling win

Sutherland inspires Aussie fightback in eventful ODI thriller

Australia’s come-from-the-clouds victory over India in the second ODI followed what is becoming a very familiar narrative.

India in a position of strength in a run chase, only to crumble as the world champions hold their nerve to seal a thrilling, last-gasp win.

That tale was told when gold was on the line in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and again in Cape Town in February with a T20 World Cup final berth on the line.

The stakes were far lower at Wankhede Stadium on Saturday night, in a bilateral ODI that did not count for ICC Championship points, nor towards a broader multi-format contest.

However, the outcome was the same. India were on the charge, needing a run a ball with wickets in hand, only for Australia to orchestrate a collapse and seal a three-run victory.

And importantly for the tourists, it was not one of the usual suspects with ball in hand as the game went down to the final over.

Throughout Australia’s golden run, veterans Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen have been go-to death options, but with neither featuring in Saturday’s XI – the former due to a quad niggle, the other omitted – it was Annabel Sutherland who took her opportunity, defending 16 runs against set batter Deepti Sharma.

"I'm just so proud of everyone else who seems to get a cap or get an opportunity and comes in and contributes to this side," captain Alyssa Healy said after her team took an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

"It says a lot about our group, it says a lot about our domestic structure as well, and the WBBL in particular, that these girls are getting opportunities to play international-level cricket at home in Australia against the best players in the world and they get that experience.

"It's great and hopefully we can continue to produce more and more match winners for Australia."

Schutt has signalled her intent to feature in the next ODI World Cup, to be staged in India in 18 months’ time, and it is assumed Jonassen feels likewise.

But building depth in that department is a priority for Australia, both ahead of that tournament and their T20 World Cup title defence in Bangladesh next September.

"We've been needing probably some more death options, in the T20 game in particular, we've been talking about that," Healy said.

"Schutter has done it so well for us for a long period of time, but we know that change is near and Belsy showed us tonight exactly what she could do, and I think Kim Garth, if given the opportunity, could have done something similar."

Litchfield's blinder in the covers gets crucial Rodrigues wicket

Sutherland made her international debut in early 2020, but it has been in 2023 that the Victorian allrounder has established herself as a core member of Australia’s best XI.

With the bat she hit her first Test and ODI centuries, while she has also taken on greater responsibility with ball in hand.

"She's always been an outstanding prospect and a real talent," Healy said.

"But I think her belief in herself, and also probably some opportunities coming her way, has really given her the freedom to go out there and show everyone just how good she is."

For an Australian side undergoing a period of change under the new leadership of Healy and deputy Tahlia McGrath, Saturday’s result was a reminder to their rivals that in the post-Lanning era, their knack for winning with their backs against the wall remains.

Healy pointed to the momentum-shifting cameo from Alana King, who hit three sixes in her unbeaten 28 off 17 that pushed Australia to 8-258, as critical, and said the dismissal of India first drop Richa Ghosh, who had anchored India’s chase, was the moment her team knew they were back in the game.

"Alana King pulled some momentum back into our changeroom (but) I thought we were probably 20, 30 maybe even 40 runs short with the bat," she said.

"But I think when we (got) Richa Ghosh when she was on 96, that was when probably the group thought 'we're on here'.

"We could have probably caught her earlier, don't get me wrong ... but when we took that catch, we knew that the pressure was on.

"They were hovering around a run a ball for a really long period of time.

"We just knew if we kept creating dot balls, kept creating pressure then chances would come and that's exactly what this team has been really, really good at for a long period of time and we did it again tonight."

Meanwhile Healy shrugged off questions around her own form with the bat – and whether the pressure of opening, '

Alyssa Healy had her leg stump knocked out swiping across the line // Sportzpics/BCCI

keeping and captaincy was too much – after she was bowled for 13 from 24 deliveries.


It followed scores of 38 and 32 in the one-off Test and her duck in the first ODI since she took over the Australian leadership on a fulltime basis.

"I've also missed eight weeks of cricket leading into this," she said.

"This is my first series back from a fairly significant injury, so in that regard, the captaincy isn't weighing on me at all.

"I'm just excited to be back out there playing cricket to be completely honest and the captaincy is just a side part of that.

"I really enjoy it – I mean, tonight was as stressful as ever, and I'm sure I'll be grey in about a week's time (but) they're an amazing bunch of girls to captain and hopefully I can just go there make some runs at some point and contribute."

Australia's CommBank Tour of India

Test match: India won by eight wickets

First ODI: Australia won by six wickets

Second ODI: Australia won by three runs

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