A clear plan and perfect execution helped Australia skipper Meg Lanning notch up one-day international century No.12 in Malaysia on Saturday.
Lanning powered her way to 124 from 106 deliveries in the second ODI against Pakistan in Kuala Lumpur, moving two tons clear of New Zealand star Suzie Bates on the list of most women’s ODI tons.
The century, her first against Pakistan, was vintage Lanning: in difficult batting conditions, in sweltering heat, and with her team under pressure, she delivered. At one point Australia were 3-54 after electing to bat first against their seventh-ranked opponents.
“Any hundred is really special,” Lanning reflected after Australia wrapped up a 150-run win.
“The conditions took a little bit to get used to and were probably different to what we’re accustomed to, so it was good to be able to fight through that at the start.
“I had a pretty clear plan about how I wanted to go about my innings and it’s nice to see it come off."
Lanning anchored the Australian innings – sharing in a fourth-wicket partnership of 181 with deputy Rachael Haynes – before escalating after a circumspect start. She brought up her half-century from 50 balls, before her next 50 came from just 39 deliveries.
She holed out on 124 chasing quick runs late, ending an entertaining 106-ball knock that featured 19 boundaries.
The Australian skipper was understandably elated with her milestone – her first since the shoulder surgery that kept the 26-year-old sidelined for seven months. Her most recent century had come against Sri Lanka during last year’s World Cup in the United Kingdom.
“It was nice to get some runs today,” Lanning said after play. “Pakistan put us under pressure early with those wickets and they bowled really tight as well.
“So we had to work through that. I think on this wicket you need to play really straight, especially early when it sort of skids on and the pads and bowled are in play.
“I wanted to take my time early and make sure I was being really decisive with my footwork and playing nice and straight.
“Once you do get the feel of the pitch it felt like it was a really good batting wicket, it came onto the bat nicely.”
Since returning to the Australian team against India in March, Lanning has worked her way back to her best. She never quite found her rhythm in the one-dayers against India in Vadodara, with a top score of 33, but found her feet in the final of the T20I tri-series when she blasted a brilliant 88no from 45 deliveries.
She warmed up for the home T20I series against New Zealand with a century for Victoria in the Women’s National Cricket League, before sharing in another match-winning partnership with Haynes in the series opener against the White Ferns, finishing unbeaten on 56.
On Saturday, Lanning and Haynes’ 181-run stand was an Australian record for the fourth wicket in ODIs and the pair are forming a habit of stepping up when under pressure.
“When Rachael Haynes came out she really turned the momentum in our favour and played a few shots over the top that released the pressure," Lanning said.
“That got the innings going and gave me a lot of confidence as well, so I thought we worked well together as a partnership.
“She was good to bat with today and it was good to get the win.”
Lanning broke England great Charlotte Edwards’ record for most ODI centuries in March last year when she posted a match-winning 104no against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui.
Her first century came in just her second ODI when she scored an unbeaten 104 against England in Perth, with her second coming a little over a year later with 128 against India in Mumbai.
Her third ODI ton, in December the same year, remains the fastest scored by any Australian – male or female – coming off just 45 balls against New Zealand at North Sydney Oval.
Meg Lanning's ODI centuries
January 2011: 104no v England, Perth
March 2012: 128 v India, Mumbai
December 2012: 103 v New Zealand, Sydney
February 2013: 112 v New Zealand, Cuttack
November 2014: 135no v West Indies, Bowral
July 2015: 104 v England, Bristol
February 2016: 114no v New Zealand, Mt Maunganui
February 2016: 127 v New Zealand, Mt Maunganui
November 2016: 134 v South Africa, Canberra
March 2017: 104no v New Zealand, Mt Maunganui
July 2017: 152no v Sri Lanka, Bristol
October 2018: 124 v Pakistan, Kuala Lumpur
CommBank Tour of Malaysia
Australia ODI squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
Australia T20 & World T20 squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Nicole Bolton, Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy (wk), Jess Jonassen (subject to fitness), Delissa Kimmince, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Elyse Villani, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
Pakistan ODI/T20 squad: Javeria Khan (c), Bibi Nahida, Ayesha Zafar, Muneeba Ali Siddiqui, Sidra Amin, Omaima Sohail, Nida Rashid, Sidra Nawaz, Sana Mir, Nashra Sundhu, Anum Amin, Natalia Parvaiz, Aliya Riaz, Diana Baig, Aiman Anwar
October 18: Australia won the first ODI by five wickets
October 20: Second ODI v Pakistan, Kinrara Academy Oval
October 22: Third ODI v Pakistan, Kinrara Academy Oval
October 25: First T20I v Pakistan, Kinrara Academy Oval
October 27: Second T20I v Pakistan, Kinrara Academy Oval
October 29: Third T20I v Pakistan, Kinrara Academy Oval
2018 ICC Women's World T20
November 9: Australia v Pakistan, Province Stadium, Guyana
November 11: Australia v Ireland, Province Stadium
November 13: Australia v New Zealand, Province Stadium
November 17: Australia v India, Province Stadium
November 22: Semi-finals, Sir Vivian Richards Ground, Antigua
November 24: Final, Sir Vivian Richards Ground