Australia captain Meg Lanning has entered uncharted territory after her match-winning century in the Rose Bowl decider saw her pass Charlotte Edwards' record for most one-day international tons.
Lanning's 10th ODI century steered the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars to victory as they chased New Zealand’s 9-270 in 49.2 overs, sealing a 2-1 series triumph at Mt Maunganui’s Bay Oval.
As with so many of Lanning’s knocks, it came under pressure with the match on the line, the Australia skipper coming in at 1-15 following the dismissal of Nicole Bolton.
Quick Single: Stars claim series after Lanning's record ton
Lanning played the anchor role through Australia’s innings, bringing up triple figures from 111 deliveries and finishing unbeaten on 104 as the Southern Stars sealed a five-wicket win.
Fittingly, former England captain Edwards was watching on in the Bay Oval crowd as Lanning passed the record in just her 57th one-day innings. By comparison, Edwards' nine tons were amassed across 191 games.
“It was obviously nice (to break the record) but I was more glad we got the win, to be honest,” Lanning said.
“That’s all I cared about, I’d had a quiet series so I thought it was time to contribute and lead the side home.
“I love playing here and I was keen to finish the series off well, we needed someone to bat long and deep and I put my hand up to do that.”
Lanning’s record came after she survived a very close call in the 21st over of Australia’s chase, with White Ferns ‘keeper Rachel Priest adamant she had the World No.1 batter stumped off the bowling of teenage leg-spinner Amelia Kerr.
Square leg umpire Richard Hooper was fast to say ‘not out’, believing Priest’s foot had dislodged the bails before the fumbled ball struck the stumps.
Priest remonstrated with the umpires and with Lanning, with things becoming heated and play delayed for several minutes before NZ skipper Suzie Bates and Lanning’s batting partner Ellyse Perry stepped in.
“I didn’t see her taking the bails but the umpire immediately said 'not out', so I’m not sure how he would have changed his decision with no video (replays),” Lanning explained.
“It was heated at times but we were all wanting to be in the contest and when you’re wanting to win as much as both teams wanted to, it got a little feisty out there.
“I had to take a couple of overs just to compose myself and Pez came down and chatted to me and made sure we took our time.”
Lanning also paid tribute to the efforts of batting partners Beth Mooney, Elyse Villani and Alex Blackwell, who each shared significant partnerships with their captain as she anchored the tourists’ innings.
“Mooney at the top there, Villani and then Blackwell made it a lot easier for me to play my natural game,” she added.
Lanning’s historic day was capped off by a stunning diving catch she took late in New Zealand’s innings to remove the dangerous Katey Martin on 77.
“I wasn’t expecting to catch it to be honest," she said. “I thought I’d put in the token dive effort but it landed in my hand.
“I had a few (dropped catches) to make up for from the first T20 so think I’m now in the positives in the fielding impact ratings.”
The speed at which Lanning scores her centuries is remarkable, with 50 per cent of her fifties converted into triple figures. More than one third of her innings result in scores of 50-plus.
Lanning, who turns 25 later this month, averages 52.37 and has 10 half-centuries to accompany her 10 tons, and she now sits 16th on the overall run scorers list in ODIs.
Sunday’s knock also saw her pass Lisa Keightley to move into the top five Australian ODI run scorers, her 2671 placing her behind only Belinda Clark (4844), Karen Rolton (4814), Alex Blackwell (3177) and Lisa Sthalekar (2728).
Lanning had equalled Edwards’ centuries record last November when she scored 134 against South Africa at Manuka Oval, while she has now scored three centuries from five matches at Bay Oval.
She has been racking up the records since making her international debut in late 2010.
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 one year later, 128 against India in Mumbai.
Her third ODI, 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 2016: 104no v New Zealand, Mt Maunganui