Australia's U19 women set for Sri Lankan tri-series

Squad boasting WNCL and WBBL experience to take on hosts and England across next 10 days

Australia's Under-19s will head to next year's World Cup with two international tri-series under their belts, as they set their sights on the one piece of silverware an Australian team has yet to claim.

Their World Cup preparations will begin in earnest over the coming fortnight, with a tri-series against Sri Lanka and England beginning on Thursday.

The 15-player Australian squad along with coach Kristen Beams touched down in Sri Lanka on Sunday and will meet their rivals in four 20-over and two 50-over matches over the coming weeks.

All but two of that number will be eligible for the 2025 ICC Women's Under-19 T20 World Cup in Malaysia next January.

It will be the second women's Under-19 World Cup, after the inaugural event was staged in South Africa in January 2023, with India defeating England in the final.

Australia were knocked out in the semi-finals of that event, after going into the tournament without having toured as a group, as no women's Under-19s tours were held during the pandemic. 

It will be different this time around, and Australia will also host Sri Lanka and a yet-to-be-confirmed team in another tri-series later this year.

"It's really nice for us to have a few different tours in the lead up to the World Cup," Beams told 

"Anytime you get to take a team to the subcontinent, it's a pretty incredible for players to experience the different conditions and then have off the back of that we'll have a home tri-series as well. 

"We'll get that chance for them to be playing a volume of cricket, and to take a team away and to head overseas, particularly given we're going to Malaysia for the World Cup as well, it's so valuable to be able to play in those conditions."

Australia squad: Bonnie Berry, Maggie Clark, Samara Dulvin, Sienna Eve, Lucy Finn, Hasrat Gill, Lucy Hamilton, Amy Hunter, Eleanor Larosa, Grace Lyons, Ines McKeon, Juliette Morton, Kate Pelle, Amy Smith, Tegan Williamson

Tasmania and Hurricanes leg-spinner Amy Smith is one of two players who will have aged out of that upcoming World Cup, alongside left-arm spinner Sienna Eve, who hails from NSW.

Smith missed the back end of the WNCL season, including Tasmania's third-straight win in the final, due to a neck injury.

Now recovered, she will co-captain Australia alongside Queensland and Brisbane Heat quick Lucy Hamilton.

"Given the timeframe that we've got in the lead up to the World Cup, we felt we could achieve two things – preparing the majority of the players for the World Cup, but also giving still giving that key subcontinent experience to (Smith and Eve) who played in the Under-19 National Championships, but who aren't going to be eligible for the World Cup," Beams said.

The group includes a host of players who hold state or Big Bash contracts, as well as members of the previous World Cup squad.

Alongside Smith and Hamilton, there are ACT Meteors Amy Hunter and Grace Lyons, SA Scorpion Eleanor Larosa, and recent WA debutant Ines McKeon, who has also played 16 T20Is for France.

Kate Pelle took the gloves for the Sydney Sixers last season after Alyssa Healy was ruled out following her dog bite, and Bonnie Berry and Hasrat Gill have both spent time around senior domestic teams without making their debuts. 

Also in the squad is South Australian Maggie Clark, who took the last U19 World Cup by storm as a 15-year-old, finishing as the tournament's leading wicket taker. 

"We'll have some girls that have experienced WBBL and WNCL cricket and others who are having their first opportunity out of the Under-19 National Championships. 

"It's really nice to have that diversity, we've got a diversity of age as well, 15 is our youngest player through to 19.

"It's really nice when you can take a mixture of experiences, it makes for a really good fun tour and they get to share that knowledge, and they're from all over the country as well."

This will be Australia's first women's Under-19s tour – outside of the 2023 World Cup – held since 2019. 

Beams said providing up-and-coming players with touring experience was a vital part of their development, complementing an increasingly professional domestic set-up.

"I just think the touring side of things is really valuable for us," she said. "The states are doing an incredible job in their programs and developing those players. 

"So we feel like our ability to then take them away and get them that cricket where they're playing against their peers is really nice, because I think that complements what they're doing (at home). 

"There are the girls getting a stretch opportunity through (playing adults in) WNCL and WBBL – Lucy Hamilton's played WNCL and WBBL and played a key role, and now she gets to play that lead role in an under-19s space, and I think it's really nice to have the balance of both."

The Sri Lanka under-19 tri-series will be live streamed on the Cricket Sri Lanka YouTube channel

Sri Lanka Under-19s tri-series schedule

T20 Series

March 28: Sri Lanka v Australia

March 29: Australia v England

March 30: Sri Lanka v England

April 1: Sri Lanka v Australia

April 2: Australia v England

April 3: England v Sri Lanka 

All played at MRICS, Hambantota

One-Day Series

April 5: Sri Lanka v Australia 

April 7: Australia v England  

April 9: Sri Lanka v England

All played at GICS, Galle

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