CommBank ODI Series v Sri Lanka
Lanning's world beaters an echo of past legends
Aussie great Mel Jones reflects on the similarities between the current crop and Belinda Clark's dominant ODI side of the late 90s
8 October 2019, 04:06 PM AEST
Australia great Mel Jones can see stark similarities between Belinda Clark’s record-setting dominators of the late 90s and Meg Lanning’s current all-conquering Australians.
Lanning’s Australians are on the verge of breaking the record for most consecutive ODI wins by a women’s team, having equalled the 17 straight victories Clark’s side enjoyed between 1997 and 1999.
The world’s top-ranked team are red-hot favourites to achieve victory number 18 in the third and final ODI against Sri Lanka in Brisbane on Wednesday, having claimed wins by 157 and 110 runs in the opening two matches.
Jones played in all but four of those 17 wins under Clark’s leadership, a run that started against South Africa in the second group game of the 1997 World Cup in India and ended with defeat to New Zealand in February 1999.
Australia’s current run started in Baroda, India, in March last year and has included series sweeps against India, Pakistan, New Zealand, England and the West Indies leading into the current contest against Sri Lanka.
"There are a lot of similarities," Jones told cricket.com.au on Tuesday.
"You’ve got strong leaders at the top, not just Meg, but Rachael Haynes and the like at the top of the order (and) there are young players coming through that are being mentored and transitioned into the team really nicely.
"The biggest similarity I’ve noticed is that absolute thirst and desire to keep getting better all the time.
"There’s no corners cut, the one-percenters are probably the biggest ticket items within the team.
"There’s an enjoyment factor about it as well. As much as you can go out there and be exceptionally professional in the way in which you’re going about it, it’s really nice to see them enjoying every moment."
It is difficult to compare the two eras; the team Jones played in were juggling their cricket with full-time jobs, while Lanning’s team is part of the new guard of full-time professional cricketers.
But Jones can see certain traits that have been passed through the generations to become part of the fabric of the Australian team’s culture.
"(Breaking the record) will mean we did something right," she said.
"We’ve played with and mentored a lot of the players within this Australian team and this is exactly what you want to see happen … that the next group of players pick up on all the things you did well.
"I think this Australian team has done that exceptionally well.
"I hope not only that they break the record, but they keep going on and make it a huge one, and then they’re the ones mentoring the next Australian team in the next generation to break that (again)."
Speaking after Monday’s record-equalling win in Brisbane, Australian vice-captain Haynes paid tribute to Clark’s team and the example they set two decades ago.
"I'm pretty sure not all of our team was alive back then, but that era and that generation of cricketer were so formidable," Haynes said.
"They really created the standard of what's expected in this team.
"If we get past that milestone, it'll be a pretty wonderful achievement and not lost on us.
"They certainly laid a terrific foundation for us and I think about that all the time.
"They fought extremely hard, and they represented their country at a time where not only did you have to juggle full-time work and those things, but also … physically and mentally (get) the best out of your ability.
"They were certainly trailblazers and laid a fantastic path for us."
CommBank Series v Sri Lanka
Australia squad: Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Erin Burns (T20I only), Nicola Carey, Ashleigh Gardner, Heather Graham, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Delissa Kimmince, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
Sri Lanka T20I squad: Chamari Atapattu (c), Harshitha Madavi, Shashikala Siriwardena, Anushka Sanjeewani, Hansima Karunaratne, Yashoda Mendis, Nilakshi De Silva, Dilani Manodara, Oshadhi Ranasinghe, Inoka Ranaweera, Sugandhika Kumari, Inoshi Fernando, Achini Kulasooriya, Udeshika Probodhani, Ama Kanchana.
First T20I: Australia won by 41 runs
Second T20I: Australia won by 9 wickets
Third T20I: Australia won by 132 runs
First ODI: Australia won by 157 runs
Second ODI: Australia won by 110 runs
*All ODIs are ICC Women's Championship matches