Aussies review pros and cons from ODI sweep as T20Is await

Ahead of two World Cups in Asia in the next two years, the tourists are putting each and every performance under the microscope

Australia's one-day series victory over Bangladesh could be taken for granted by those outside the team, given the world champions' general dominance in the 50-over format and their undefeated record against the Tigresses.

But their 3-0 whitewash in their first ever bilateral series against Bangladesh was a significant achievement as they plot their path to next year's ODI World Cup in India.

They won the games by margins of 118 runs, six wickets and eight wickets respectively, in their first visit to the Asian nation since the T20 World Cup was held there in 2014.

Bangladesh are a team on the rise, and seriously challenged India in an ODI series midway through last year, winning one game and tying another, while they also record a historic T20 series win over Pakistan and unprecedented victories away from home in South Africa.

The Tigresses' bowlers in particular tend to thrive in low and slow conditions custom-built for their strong spin attack and while they did put Australia's batters under pressure at times, Alyssa Healy's team rose to the challenge.

That included recovering from 5-78 in the first ODI to post 7-213, and while they lost four wickets chasing 98 in the second game, Australia reeled in a similar target of 89 scoring at more than five runs an over for the loss of just two wickets in the series finale. 

But it was Australia's bowlers, in particular the spinners, who emerged as the stars of the series.

Ashleigh Gardner finished with eight wickets at 8.62, while Sophie Molineux picked up five at 6.6 in two matches in her first ODI series since 2021.

The pace bowlers then made their mark on the series finale, with Kim Garth and Ellyse Perry taking five wickets between them to leave Bangladesh reeling at 5-32 before the spinners did the rest.

"I think we've played pretty well as a team … as a bowling unit, we did really well throughout the series and learnt as the games went on and that’s probably somewhat similar with the batters as well," Garth said after the third ODI. 

"The spinners have had to do a lot of work (in the first two games) so it was really cool for the quicks to get through some overs today."

Garth was named player of the match in the third ODI, after a brilliant opening seven-over spell that saw her claim 3-11 including four maidens. 

It was a statement from the former Ireland quick, who was omitted for the second one-dayer in favour of a fourth spinner in Molineux, but got her opportunity in the series finale when Megan Schutt was left out for workload purposes.

"Having played that first ODI I knew what to expect from a seam-bowling point of view and it was nice to get out there and for the ball to swing a bit for a few overs," Garth said. 

"From there, I just looked to attack the stumps as much as possible and play around with the seam position. 

"It was really nice to be able to bowl seven overs in a row up top, for 'Midge' (Healy) to have faith in me and bowl me in a long spell was really cool."

The only questions Australia were unable to answer were how their batters would have fared if required to chase a larger total, and – now looking ahead to the three-game T20I series starting Sunday – how their typically aggressive approach might fare in difficult batting conditions. 

"Batting second meant we didn't have much time out in the middle, but the girls that did get out there, they learnt went really well as the games went on," Garth said.

The only real blemish, meanwhile, came in the extras column for the Australian bowling attack, who gifted 63 runs, including 47 wides, across the three ODIs.

While immaterial to an overall result that was heavily in Australia's favour, those wides accounted for more than 16 percent of Bangladesh's total runs for the series, and – more worryingly – continued a trend that stretches back to the start of 2023.

"I think it's something we're always looking at and that's something we always speak about," Garth said when asked how Australia’s bowlers would seek to improve their accuracy ahead of the T20Is. 

"It's just being really disciplined. 

"Particularly, when there's not a whole heap happening in the game, just talk about creating our own standards and that'll be something we're reviewing."

CommBank Tour of Bangladesh

First ODI: Australia won by 118 runs

Second ODI: Australia won by six wickets

Third ODI: Australia won by eight wickets

March 31: First T20I, Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka (5:00pm AEDT)

April 2: Second T20I, Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka (5:00pm AEDT)

April 4: Third T20I, Sher-E-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka (5:00pm AEDT)

Australia squad: Alyssa Healy (c), Ashleigh Gardner, Kim Garth, Grace Harris, Alana King, Phoebe Litchfield, Tahlia McGrath (vc), Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Annabel Sutherland, Georgia Wareham, Tayla Vlaeminck

Bangladesh squad: Nigar Sultana (c), Nahida Akter (vc), Fargana Hoque, Murshida Khatun, Sobhana Mostary, Shorna Akter, Ritu Moni, Sultana Khatun, Fahima Khatun, Marufa Akter, Disha Biswas, Sumaiya Akter, Nishita Akter Nishi, Farzana Akter, Rabeya Khan