New Zealand v Australia ODIs - Women's
Bench strength to keep driving Aussies to new heights
Depth and a burning desire to win next year's ODI World Cup will ensure Australia do not rest on their laurels after breaking a world record
4 April 2021, 06:02 PM AEST
History has been made, but it is far from job done for Australia’s record-breaking ODI side.
Sunday’s six-wicket win over New Zealand sealed Australia’s 22nd consecutive one-day victory, breaking the record set by Ricky Ponting’s team of 2003.
But Alyssa Healy believes the sheer competition for spots within the Australian XI, a Rose Bowl series that remains on the line, and the small matter of an ODI World Cup in 12 months’ time, will continue to drive the record breakers to even greater heights.
And when you look at a bench that contains Sophie Molineux, Tahlia McGrath, Darcie Brown, Hannah Darlington, Molly Strano and Belinda Vakarewa, it is not difficult to see why.
Or when you consider the credentials of Annabel Sutherland, recovering from injury at home in Melbourne, or the likes of Elyse Villani and Georgia Redmayne, both of whom have been bashing down the door for national selection in the domestic one-day competition.
"I think that’s a really impressive thing, is the depth we’ve got," Healy said on Sunday.
"That’s the greatest asset we’ve got right now, is the competition for spots and everyone who gets an opportunity really relishes that.
"There’s some fantastic players on the sidelines in orange vests that want to get out there and play games for their country."
There is no denying the origin of Australia’s remarkable streak, one that started in March 2018, stems from the bitter disappointment of their early exit from the 2017 World Cup, when the red-hot favourites were dumped out of the semi-final by a rampant Harmanpreet Kaur and India.
It triggered a rethink of Australia’s tactics and culture, and in the years since Meg Lanning’s side has evolved into the most dominant force in world cricket.
"There’s been a lot said and written about that game," Healy said.
"In hindsight there was a lot of change that was made individually and as a team and it pointed us in the right direction and we used it as a real growth moment.
"Look at us now, we’ve had 22 wins on the trot … that game was a turning point for us.
"We’re really lucky as a group, we all get along really well and there’s a lot of trust as a team and a lot of honest conversations are had and well received by people who might get negative feedback.
"Everyone knowing their role and performing their role has been crucial to us winning.
"It’s working perfectly for us at the minute and hopefully we can keep building on that."
That depth was possibly most evident in win No.21, also against New Zealand last October, when Australia thrashed their rivals by 232 runs despite both Lanning and Ellyse Perry being sidelined through injury.
And in New Zealand, having been adamant in the lead-up that they were not dwelling on the opportunity to break the new world record for consecutive ODI wins, it was only after the six-wicket victory that etched Australia’s name into the record books that Healy was at last prepared to acknowledge its significance.
"It’s actually a really cool feeling," she admitted. "Our team hadn’t spoken about breaking a record, we just spoke about coming here and winning a game in the Rose Bowl series, which means a lot to us.
"Now the dust has settled, it’s a pretty special feeling and one all the girls in the dressing room won’t take lightly – it’s an impressive record to break.
"A lot of players in that room, me in particular, idolised Ricky Ponting growing up – he’s exactly how I wanted to bat and take on the game.
"So for us to break a record that had him all over it is special for this group.
"But I think the most impressive thing about our streak has been the length of it.
"There’s been a lot of years between those games, we don’t play a lot of (one-day) cricket for Australia throughout the year, especially the last 18 months where we’ve hardly played.
"So the most impressive thing is we can come back together as a group and be this consistent."
Healy is one of four players to have featured in all 22 of Australia’s ODI wins, alongside Beth Mooney, Ashleigh Gardner and Rachael Haynes.
The three-year run has been a mixture of consistency and rejuvenation; Lanning (20), Megan Schutt (20) Jess Jonassen (19), Perry (19), Georgia Wareham (19) and Nicola Carey (16) also appeared in the majority of games, but seven players also debuted during that period.
"It makes my hamstrings feel a little bit tighter than what they did before the game," Healy said when asked what it personally meant to have been a part of each and every game.
"It is special individually; to have the longevity that I’ve had in this format is pretty surreal to think about.
"It’s been really fun to be part of it and to be part of a team that’s had so many different people come in and perform a role."
CommBank tour of New Zealand 2021
Australia ODI & T20I Squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Molly Strano, Georgia Wareham, Belinda Vakarewa, Tayla Vlaeminck
New Zealand ODI squad: Amy Satterthwaite (capt), Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Brooke Halliday, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Jess Kerr, Frances Mackay, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin (wk), Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu
1st T20: Australia won by six wickets
2nd T20: New Zealand won by four wickets
3rd T20: Play abandoned due to rain
1st ODI: Australia won by six wickets
All matches will be shown live in Australia on Fox Cricket and Kayo