Australia have kicked off their India tour in near-perfect fashion, thrashing an India A side by 321 runs in a dominant display with bat and ball in their opening warm-up match at Mumbai’s BKC Ground.
Only an anti-climactic return to the middle from captain Meg Lanning threatened to put a dampener on what was an emphatic workout for the Australians, as Beth Mooney scored a century and Ashleigh Gardner hit a blazing 90 before the locals were bowled out for just 92 in reply.
Mooney and Gardner’s efforts, combined with half-centuries to Nicole Bolton and Ellyse Perry, helped the Southern Stars post 8-413 from their 50 overs.
Opener Bolton set the tone early, making an attacking start to her knock while the usually aggressive Alyssa Healy watched on from the other end.
Healy was the first wicket to fall, out for 17 (19) in the eighth over with the score on 58, while Bolton raced her way to 58 from 38 deliveries.
Given an opportunity at No.3, Mooney – who opened for Australia during the World Cup before being dropped from the ODI side for the Ashes – found the boundary first ball and immediately took on the India A attack, making the most of her chance against an inexperienced line-up featuring just four players with international experience.
The Queenslander produced her full array of shots as she raced to triple figures, bringing up her 100 with a scoop that found the boundary rope.
Lanning, returning after seven months on the sidelines following shoulder surgery, came in behind Mooney at No.4 but her comeback knock lasted just 10 deliveries, managing a sole single before being caught behind off the bowling of off-spinner Anuja Patil.
After Lanning’s dismissal, Mooney shared a 154-run partnership with Ellyse Perry, who cleared the rope once on her way to a 58-ball 65, the allrounder trapped lbw shortly after Mooney elected to call time on her own innings when on 115.
Elyse Villani (17 off 15) and Rachael Haynes (20 off 22) couldn’t carry on with their starts, but Gardner’s stunning late-innings effort sent the Australian total soaring past 400.
In a knock reminiscent of her Rebel WBBL century at North Sydney Oval last December, Gardner cleared the boundary six times on her way to 90 off 44 balls, dismissed on the final ball of the innings chasing yet another maximum.
Australia had the opportunity to field their entire 14-player squad in the warm-up fixture and made one mid-game change with athletic NSW quick Belinda Vakarewa coming in for Villani, before swapping in uncapped pair Nicola Carey and Sophie Molineux later in the innings.
Perry took the new ball alongside Megan Schutt and it didn’t take long for the Australians to make inroads into the inexperienced Indian side. Healy took an athletic catch behind the stumps off Perry’s bowling to remove opener Priya Punia in the fifth over, before the allrounder struck again three balls later.
Every member of the Southern Stars attack was given an opportunity as wickets fell at regular intervals, with Vakarewa going wicketless from her three overs despite consistently beating the bat, while Carey, brought on in the 23rd over, struck with her fourth delivery.
Schutt led the wicket-taking with 3-24 off 4.5 overs, while Perry (2-14) and leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington (2-11) also took multiple scalps as the Indian innings was wrapped up in 29.5 overs.
Such was Australia’s dominance, that when the game ended two hours early the coaching staff elected to use the remainder of the afternoon for extra intra-squad game time.
Australia will play a second warm-up against the same India A side on Thursday before flying to Vadodara, where the first of three ODIs will be played on March 12.
Cricket.com.au will provide news, scores, highlights and behind-the-scenes coverage from on the ground in India, while Fox Sports will broadcast all three ODIs and the T20I tri-series that will follow live.
Bolton c Koli b Kanwer 58 (38) Healy c Parween b Patil 17 (19) Mooney retired out 115 (83) Lanning c Parween b Patil 1 (10) Perry lbw Kohli 65 (58) Haynes b Koli 20 (22) Villani b Patil 17 (15) Gardner c Patil b Koli 90 (44) Jonassen not out 19 (11) Total 8-413 (50 overs)
India A bowling
Singh 0-34 (5 overs)
K.Patil 2-58 (7)
A.Patil 1-63 (8)
Kanwer 1-73 (9)
Sarkar 0-57 (9)
India A innings
Punia c Healy b Perry 13 (14) Koli c Gardner b Schutt 11 (21) Tanwar c Mooney b Perry 2 (3) Sarkar lbw Jonassen 4 (20) A. Patil st Mooney b Wellington 16 (16) Choudhary c Villani b Gardner 5 (27) Parween c Molineux b Wellington 0 (4) Asha c Mooney b Carey 11 (19) K Patil c Lanning b Schutt 14 (35) Kanwer not out 8 (17) Singh c Mooney b Schutt 4 (3) Total 92 (29.5 overs)
Perry 2-14 (4)
Schutt 3-24 (4.5)
Jonassen 1-9 (3) Vakarewa 0-6 (3) Gardner 1-11 (5) Wellington 2-11 (4) Carey 1-11 (3) Molineux 0-6 (3)
Australia tour of India
Australia ODI squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington
Australia T20 squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Naomi Stalenberg, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington
India ODI squad: Mithali Raj (Captain), Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-captain), Smriti Mandhana, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Veda Krishnamurthy, Mona Meshram, Sushma Verma, Ekta Bisht, Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey, Sukanya Parida, Pooja Vastrakar, Deepti Sharma
Warm-up match v India A, Australia won by 321 runs
Warm-up match v India A, BKC Ground, Mumbai, March 6
First ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara, March 12
Second ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara, March 15
Third ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara, March 18
First T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 22
Second T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 23
Third T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 25
Fourth T20I Australia v India, Brabourne Stadium, March 26
Fifth T20I Australia v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 28
Sixth T20I India v England, Brabourne Stadium, March 29
Final Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, March 31