CommBank Series v India - ODIs
Teen pace pair fire Aussies to 25th straight win
Fresh-faced Aussies cruise to nine-wicket win over India in ODI series-opener on back of impressive spells from Darcie Brown and Hannah Darlington
Adam Burnett at the Great Barrier Reef Arena, Mackay
21 September 2021, 05:00 PM AEST
Australia have cruised to a 25th consecutive ODI victory in their series opener against India, with teenage pace pair Darcie Brown and Hannah Darlington setting up a nine-wicket win at the Great Barrier Reef Arena in Mackay.
Australia's top three Rachael Haynes (93 not out), Alyssa Healy (77) and Meg Lanning (53no) then made light work of the run chase, reeling in India's 8-225 in the 41st over as the home side struck the first decisive blow in what could prove to be a lopsided multi-format series.
On a pitch that offered the pace bowlers some assistance, 18-year-old Brown – playing just her second ODI – and 19-year-old debutante Darlington played their respective roles to a tee; the former as a new-ball aggressor and the latter as a nagging stump-to-stump change bowler through the middle overs.
Between them they snared six wickets (Brown 4-33, Darlington 2-39) to strangle the Indian batting innings, which was highlighted by a 77-run third-wicket stand between skipper Mithali Raj and debutante Yastika Bhatia.
Raj soaked up 107 balls – or more than a third of India's innings – in compiling her 63, and while she added yet another half-century to what is a remarkable record across two decades of international cricket, it was hard not to consider her approach to setting a defendable total as anachronistic against this powerful Australian side.
Yastika (35) again looked assured after playing well for her 41 in last Saturday's practice match against the Aussies in Brisbane, and she will have been disappointed to have picked out Haynes at point to gift Brown her third wicket just as she was threatening to play a meaningful hand.
Left-arm spinner Sophie Molineux again added to her burgeoning ODI record, claiming two wickets for the fourth consecutive match (she now has 14 in seven games at 11.21) courtesy of two sharp Alyssa Healy stumpings.
The only surprises of the innings were a dropped slips catch from captain Lanning and an erratic new-ball spell from the typically accurate Ellyse Perry (0-37 off four).
And despite an entertaining 45-run stand between another debutante in 17-year-old keeper Richa Ghosh (32no) and veteran quick Jhulan Goswami (20) to close out the innings, Lanning will doubtless have been satisfied with her team's overall effort after she elected to bowl first.
Australia's response with the bat was commanding from the outset, with the ever-reliable partnership of Haynes and Healy relishing the pace and carry of the surface.
Healy (whose 77 runs came off as many balls) was particularly ruthless, at one point taking 16 from one Pooja Vastrakar over before bringing up her 50 in the 14th over with a beautifully driven lofted four over mid-off.
The pair brought up 1,000 ODI career runs as a partnership as well as their third century stand as an opening duo, and as the afternoon wore on, India looked increasingly bereft of answers.
Alyssa Healy goes down the ground like only Alyssa Healy can. Aussies move to 0-89 (16) in pursuit of India's 225 #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/f22okveAIk— Australian Women's Cricket Team 🏏 (@AusWomenCricket) September 21, 2021
Healy also ticked off 2,000 ODI runs, a milestone she reached in fewer balls (1,954) than any woman in ODI history, before she was out in the 22nd over when, having just deposited Poonam Yadav for a straight six, she looked to repeat the dose only to pick out mid-off.
The 31-year-old appeared to admonish herself as she walked off, knowing a fourth ODI hundred was there for the taking.
Haynes quietly strolled to another half-century a short time later, pushing her strike-rate thereafter to beyond 100, then joined Healy in reaching 2,000 ODI runs to become the fourth-fastest Australian to the figure in terms of innings played (58).
At the other end, and in seemingly no time, Lanning – master of the run chase – had settled in and was looking as immovable as ever.
The right-hander crashed a delightful pull shot to the square leg boundary to get her innings going, then she and Haynes appeared to set themselves for the finish line, picking off the Indian bowling at will.
The world record run was extended to 25 with an air of inevitability by late afternoon, Australia reeling in the 226 runs required with 54 balls to spare.
Lanning is now unbeaten from her past four ODI innings in Australia, and averaging 177 from her past six knocks on home soil.
As impressive as the batting effort was, the day belonged to Brown – who at 18 years, 198 days became the youngest Australian to take four wickets in an ODI – and Darlington, who is now just the third Indigenous player to represent Australia's national women's side.
Hailing from Kapunda, around 85km north of Adelaide, Brown debuted for the Strikers last year and was immediately turning heads with her impressive pace, which in turn saw her hurried through to an Australia debut in both white-ball formats in New Zealand in March-April.
Darlington meanwhile has consistently demonstrated a mature head in pressure situations for the Thunder, her clever changes of pace and excellent yorker resulting in 35 wickets in two WBBL seasons and selection on that New Zealand tour, where she didn't play.
Both have capitalised on injuries – Brown to fellow young tearaway Tayla Vlaeminck, and Darlington to ODI regular Nicola Carey – but their performances have again highlighted the strength of Australia's bowling stocks.
And when one considers the absence of the world's top two-ranked bowlers in Megan Schutt and Jess Jonassen, as well as the fact that Annabel Sutherland – who some consider the finest young allrounder in the country – isn't an automatic selection, it could perhaps be the deepest well of bowling talent the women's game in this country has known.
CommBank Series v India
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
India Test and ODI squad: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh, Ekta Bisht.
India T20I squad: Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Shikha Pandey, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh (wk), Harleen Deol, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Renuka Singh.
First ODI: Australia defeated India by nine wickets
Sep 30 – Oct 3: Test match, Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast (D/N)