India v Australia ODIs

Lanning finds form with perfect timing

In Australia's final warm-up game before ODIs against India, captain Meg Lanning shook off the rust in an emphatic way

Laura Jolly, in Mumbai

09 March 2018, 08:51 AM

Lanning thrilled with return to form in India

Meg Lanning can pinpoint the exact moment it all came back.

The Australian captain, understandably rusty after seven months out of the game, had scratched and scrapped her way to 22 from 31 balls in her team's second warm-up game against India A in Mumbai on Thursday.

It was only her second competitive hit out since returning from shoulder surgery. In her first, she faced 10 deliveries for a lone single before being caught behind.

On Thursday, she walked out as opener, determined to give herself every chance to play herself back into form before Australia's first ODI against India next Monday.

It was a hard graft. She survived a loud lbw shout early, then found a single here, a two there – plus three boundaries she didn't feel she middled.

Then, something shifted.

Lanning monstered a six over the long-off boundary in the 12th over and never looked back. Sitting on 35 off 41 deliveries, she struck four consecutive fours to bring up her half-century off 45 deliveries, before retiring on 63 off 55.

"It was that over where I hit that six," Lanning said when asked to pinpoint the moment she felt in form. "I got a couple of boundaries away and I felt like I could hit them pretty cleanly.

"Up to then I'd got couple of boundaries, but I didn't hit them that well.

"I did feel quite scratchy again today, but I was telling myself to stick it out, spend some time in the middle and it'll get easier.

"Luckily it did and I'm really happy with getting a lot out of today."

Australian cricket presses for progress

If the Australian skipper was edgy, even terse, leading into Tuesday's first warm-up match, she was an altogether different figure on Thursday afternoon.

The pleasure – relief – at getting that first good knock under her belt was palpable as she reflected on both her own innings, and her team's emphatic win. 

"It was nice to spend some time out in the middle today," Lanning said. "The first game I was quite rusty, it took a little bit of getting used to.

"It was important today that I spent some time in the middle. I got the chance to open, which was good just to get into it straight away, and I'm feeling really confident now heading into the first ODI."

While Lanning opened alongside Alyssa Healy on Thursday, she has no plans to make a habit of it, confirming she'll return to her usual No.3 position for Monday's first ODI.

"Today was more about spending time in the middle, we're got plenty of openers in the side who can do that job so I'll slot back down to No.3," she said.

Australia now fly to Vadodara, where they'll have two training sessions at Reliance Stadium to prepare for that opening one-day international.

ICC Women's Championship points will be on offer in the three-match ODI series, which the top four teams at the end of the Championship earning automatic qualification for the 2021 World Cup.

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.

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

ODI series

First ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara, March 12

Second ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara, March 15

Third ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara, March 18

T20I tri-series

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