CommBank ODI Series v NZ
Lanning tight-lipped on final Australia XI
Question marks surround Australia's XI for the first ODI against New Zealand on Friday
Laura Jolly in Perth
21 February 2019, 03:35 PM AEST
Australia are remaining coy about their final XI for the first ODI against New Zealand in Perth, but their final two training sessions at the WACA Ground may have offered some clues about the side they'll field on Friday.
Fronting the media on Thursday, Australia captain Meg Lanning said some decisions, mostly surrounding the make-up of the bowling attack, were still to be made ahead of her team's final hit out before the start of the Commonwealth Bank Women's ODI Series.
Rachael Haynes is firming as the likely batter to fill the space left vacant by usual one-day opener Nicole Bolton, who is unavailable for this series, with indications that the vice-captain would get the nod at Australia's lengthy training session on Wednesday.
The left-hander joined Healy, Lanning and No.4 batter Ellyse Perry for the first rotation in the nets before later returning with Healy to face a series of rapid throw downs from fast bowling coach Ben Sawyer.
"We've spoken a lot about how we've got some good options, which is great, and people who've done it before, so whatever we go with we'll be very comfortable with," Lanning said.
Fellow middle-order bats Beth Mooney and Elyse Villani are the other candidates to open with Healy, both having previously filled the role.
Villani is returning from a hamstring injury that curtailed the end of her domestic summer and Lanning confirmed the 29-year-old would be available for selection.
"She's done a lot of work over the last five to six weeks to get herself fit and ready for the series, she's an option for us at the top or in the middle," Lanning said.
Australia will wait until the toss on Friday morning to reveal their final XI, but it grows increasingly likely left-arm quick Lauren Cheatle will play her first ODI in almost two years.
The WACA wicket is likely to produce pace and bounce, tempting selectors to include the left-arm speedster, potentially forming a four-pronged pace attack alongside Perry, Megan Schutt and Nicola Carey.
"We're going to have a look at the wicket today while we train and come up with what we think is going to work best, but the good thing is we have really good variety to pick from," Lanning said.
"The WACA is renowned for its pace and bounce, that does bring an extra pace bowler into the equation.
"(Cheatle) could play a really big role, she's been bowling well in nets and coming off good WNCL form as well.
"The wicket looks really green out there so that could suit the pace bowling. She's in a really good spot, she's bowling as quick as I've seen her.
"I faced her in the nets yesterday and she was swinging it and bowling with good pace which is always really exciting."
It also seems likely left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen will return to Australian colours after missing the October ODIs against Pakistan due to a knee injury, taking the spot left vacant by the injured Sophie Molineux.
Other bowling options include leg-spinner Georgia Wareham and allrounder Delissa Kimmince, who was a late addition to the squad in place of the injured Molineux.
The first ODI between Australia and New Zealand gets underway at 10.20am local time (1.20pm AEDT) on Friday.
The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports and Channel 7 and can be live streamed via Kayo, with news, scores and highlights on cricket.com.au and the CA Live App.
Possible Australia XI: Rachael Haynes, Alyssa Healy (wk), Meg Lanning (c), Ellyse Perry, Beth Mooney, Elyse Villani, Ashleigh Gardner, Nicola Carey, Jess Jonassen, Megan Schutt, Lauren Cheatle
CommBank ODIs v NZ
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Georgia Wareham
New Zealand squad: Amy Satterthwaite (c), Suzie Bates, Sophie Devine, Lauren Down, Maddy Green, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Rosemary Mair, Katey Martin, Katie Perkins, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu
February 22: First ODI, WACA Ground, Perth
February 24: Second ODI, Karen Rolton Oval, Adelaide
March 3: Third ODI, Junction Oval, Melbourne