West Indies v Australia ODIs - Women's
Gardner’s blistering knock befitting Sir Viv’s ground
The big-hitting allrounder again proves to be the key to Australia’s push for scores above 300 in one-day cricket
Laura Jolly in Antigua
10 September 2019, 10:20 AM AEST
As Ashleigh Gardner smashed the equal-fastest ODI fifty by an Australian woman at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Sunday, the ground’s namesake was watching on in the stands.
And the West Indian legend would have surely enjoyed what he saw.
Coming in at 2-222 with eight overs remaining and in oppressive heat and humidity, Gardner feasted on the West Indian attack, racing to a half-century from just 23 deliveries, equalling the mark set by her captain Meg Lanning seven years ago.
She finished unbeaten on 57 from 25 balls, having reached the boundary six times and cleared it thrice.
In partnership with century-maker Ellyse Perry, Gardner helped add 67 runs from the final five overs of the Australian innings as they finished on 2-308, their second consecutive score above 300.
Prior to March last year, Australia hadn’t passed 300 in an ODI since 2012. They’ve now done it four times from eight innings batting first since then, with Gardner the key to pushing them above the figure this side considers their blueprint in ODI cricket.
The right-hander faced just one delivery in the opening ODI at Coolidge last week, her scores in Australia’s other three recent 300-plus totals have been 62no off 37 balls, 35 off 20 and now 57no off 25.
"That’s certainly something that works in our favour," Australia allrounder Perry said of Gardner’s explosiveness following Sunday’s 151-run win.
"We’ve got some nice balance in our order in terms of right-hand and left-hand combinations, and players who are more accumulators and others who are see the ball, hit the ball really far. And Ash does that really well.
"With her coming in when she did (on Sunday) it was set up for that. But you’ve still got to do it and the way she executed that, she hit the ball really cleanly and it was really nice to watch it from the other end."
For Gardner, it was another show-stopping display at the same venue where she was named player- of-the-match in the final of last year’s T20 World Cup, when she collected three wickets and struck 33no from 26 against England.
"It was a lot of fun," Gardner told cricket.com.au.
"Going out there because Beth Mooney had to retire (due to heat stress) wasn’t nice to see, but the opportunity to go out there and try and score some quick runs was good.
"It was nice to be out there for Pez’s hundred too and celebrate that with her … and nice to have the ball coming out of the middle of my bat for once."
Australia will be eyeing an ODI series sweep in the third and final one-day international, to be played at the same venue on Wednesday from 9.30am local time (11.30pm AEST).
Fans in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea can stream the series live and free on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App, while fans elsewhere can watch on the West Indies Cricket YouTube channel.
CommBank Tour of the West Indies
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Heather Graham, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
West Indies ODI squad: Stafanie Taylor (c), Hayley Matthews (vc), Reniece Boyce, Afy Fletcher, Chinelle Henry, Shamilia Connell, Stacy Ann King, Natasha McLean, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Anisa Mohammed, Karishma Ramharack, Shabika Gajnabi
One-Day Internationals* *ICC Women's Championship matches
First ODI: Australia won by 178 runs
Second ODI: Australia won by 151 runs
September 11: Third ODI, Sir Viv Richards Ground, Antigua
September 14: First T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados
September 16: Second T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados
September 18: Third T20I, Kensington Oval, Barbados