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FIFA begins process of selecting Australian, New Zealand host cities for 2023 Women’s World Cup


FIFA has began conducting virtual workshops with the 12 Australian and New Zealand candidate cities hoping to host matches at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has described the workshops, which will be held over the next two weeks, as a “significant milestone” following FIFA’s decision to award Australia and New Zealand hosting rights for the tournament.

FIFA, along with FFA and New Zealand Football, will detail the selection process, with bid cities to have the opportunity to present their latest legacy and logistical plans.

The Australian cities hoping to be selected are Adelaide, Brisbane, Launceston, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth and Sydney.

New Zealand cities in the running are Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton and Wellington.

The last Women’s World Cup, held in France in 2019, was staged across nine cities, although since that tournament the number of competing nations has expanded from 24 to 32.

US women's soccer team celebrate winning 2019 world cup
The 2023 Women’s World Cup will host more nations than the 2019 edition, won by the US.(AP: Alessandra Tarantino)

FFA’s Women’s World Cup 2023 head Jane Fernandez said FIFA would be looking closely at several items in the selection process.

“They’ll make the decision based on all the work that is being done now, to analyse all of the stadiums, all of the infrastructure, the costs, and things like this, and that will determine the (final) number of stadiums,” she told The Ticket.

“The virtual workshops will include not only each city telling their story about the infrastructure, but definitely they also need to explain what the legacy will be to their city by hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2023.

FFA head of game development and retired Australian international, Sarah Walsh, said participation was at the foundation of the legacy framework.

“It’s fair to say it’s (participation) one of the most supported (legacy components) by FIFA,” she said.

“They’re really keen to see how we’re going to boost participation, which means building capabilities in the current system and the 2,000-plus clubs … and on top of that it’s delivering modified products like ‘soccer mums’ and social programs that create more flexibility in the offering for women of all ages.”

FFA wants to cater for women ‘of all backgrounds’

FFA also hopes the removal of barriers for women in other areas of the game will be one of the lasting positives.

Walsh said creating pathways for women to take up roles in areas such as communications, media, coaching, refereeing, and administration — particularly in decision-making roles — was crucial.

She said it was important to build support programs, and mentoring and leadership programs, and to also “think about whether we look at quotas and putting that into our coaching courses”.

“We want to make sure our game is accessible to women of all backgrounds,” Walsh said.

“So there’s an Indigenous element in there, there’s CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) communities and [people of] all abilities.”

FIFA is hoping the 2023 Women’s World Cup — the first to be co-hosted by two confederations (Asia and Oceania) — will drive growth in the South Pacific and in the world’s most populous countries, China and India.

“This is something that FIFA are very interested in,” Walsh said.

“Because obviously hosting a World Cup between Australia and New Zealand is great for our two countries but how can we utilise this to build a platform for other countries and deliver some of our programs into Asia and Oceania?”

Fernandez said the final cost of the World Cup would be determined once decisions were made around the number of stadiums and host cities.

“Whilst I’m sure FIFA has a number of different budgets being prepared, the final number won’t be known until the selection has been completed,” she said.

“But we know that the Australian (federal and state) governments have committed up to $94.4 million … a significant investment, and it shows the value governments place on hosting the tournament.”

FFA chief executive James Johnson said the Women’s World Cup was a key component of his organisation’s “XI Principles”, the title given to its plan for the future of the game in Australia.

“Australia’s co-hosting of the next FIFA Women’s World Cup ensures that we continue to be a globally-minded organisation, and will play a significant role in ensuring Australia becomes the centre of women’s football in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said in an FFA statement.

FIFA delegates will visit each of the candidate cities once COVID-19 restrictions have eased. The successful bid cities are expected to be announced by March next year.



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WA authorities knew New Zealand passengers were coming


Police and health authorities knew an “issue was going to be arising” with New Zealand travellers coming to Western Australia, with some completing entry applications prior to arrival.

The 23 New Zealand passengers, who flew to Perth via Sydney as part of a trans-Tasman travel bubble with NSW, are in quarantine and Premier Mark McGowan said on Sunday that he “didn’t foresee this happening”.

But WA’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Robyn Lawrence said on Monday that authorities were “alert” to the issue, although she was not sure whether all of the passengers had sought exemptions before arriving.

“My understanding is that a number had pre-filled their G2G passes and that a number were processed at the airport,” she told ABC radio.

“If they haven’t completed the appropriate documentation prior to arrival, they are required to do it there and then at the time.

“In addition, police speak to every arrival to confirm that the information provided was accurate.

“As we knew the New Zealand issue was going to be arising, they had additional processes in place to double check where people were coming from off domestic flights.”

The citizenship of the travellers remains unclear, but Mr McGowan previously said they would count towards WA’s weekly international travel cap.

WA is using nine hotels to quarantine travellers and Dr Lawrence said there was a “maximum capacity” to run the program well.

“There’s not an infinite amount of resources to support hotel quarantine,” she said.

“It is very, very labour intensive. It needs security, it needs medical staff, it needs psychosocial support, it needs mental health support.

“We’re at the maximum amount we can process through our hotel quarantine.”

Mr McGowan will address the media later on Monday to provide an update on the New Zealand travellers and the two coronavirus-affected ships in Fremantle.

One ill person is from livestock carrier Al Messilah, which has more than 50 people onboard, and he is in hotel quarantine under supervision.

The other sick person is onboard the iron ore carrier Key Integrity, which was in Geraldton but is now also docked in Fremantle.



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Victoria signed off on New Zealand travel deal, minister says


Premier Daniel Andrews has called on the federal government to “work” with Victoria, saying the state never agreed to be part of the trans-Tasman travel bubble.

It comes after Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said the Victorian government “authorised” a group of 17 people who arrived from New Zealand to enter the state.

Under the deal between the two nations, New Zealanders are permitted to travel quarantine-free into both NSW and the Northern Territory, under the proviso they’ve not been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the 14 days leading up to their travel.

Mr Tudge savaged the Victoria government, saying: “The fact that people cannot recall being in meetings, people cannot recall emails being sent, people cannot recall making decisions, it is just deja vu in relation to the Victorian government. That just seems to be a pattern now of not being able to recall what is going on, not being able to recall being at meetings, not being able to recall sending emails to authorise such activities”.

However, Mr Andrews has hit back at suggestions Victoria agreed to be part of the travel bubble saying “we can’t just have people wandering into the place from another country”.

He said they had now been informed 55 travellers from New Zealand had arrived.

“We are having to find these people,” he said.

“We are ringing them, one of them was in Byron Bay. And yet we were told they had landed and travelled to Melbourne.”

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus coverage

He said his “advice to Minister Tudge is, instead of stubbornly defending this, work with us and let’s make sure Victoria is not part of a bubble that we never agreed to be in.

“Now, if that isn’t possible, let’s talk about what else can happen. I don’t want to shut our border, but he should have a conversation with his boss.

“He should have a conversation with the Prime Minister, who, I have lost count of the number of times he has said to me, ‘thank you for not closing your border’.

“It is New Zealand today, but who knows what the other that what the next bubble is, who that is with? We have got authorised officers at the airport now, because this has happened. We didn’t think it would happen, but it has happened.

“We are going to follow up as much as we can. But I don’t control the borders and I don’t control what happens at Sydney Airport and I don’t think anyone can reasonably expect me to. I am not looking for a quarrel on this, I just wanted fixed.”

However, Mr Andrews said he couldn’t stop people from coming into the state.

“I have got no power to stop them coming here,” he said.

He said hopefully authorities would have “greater visibility” about the fact that they were coming so that they could they could chat to each of the travellers and make sure they knew what the coronavirus rules were.

‘OUTSIDE OF OUR CONTROL’: ANOTHER STATE STUNG

As Mr Andrews and Mr Tudge exchanged a war of words, Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan revealed 25 travellers from New Zealand had flown into Perth overnight, despite his state also not being a part of the arrangement.

All bar one of the arrivals – a child traveller now in a “quarantine arrangement” with a family member – have been put into hotel quarantine.

Mr McGowan told reporters this afternoon the situation is “fluid”, adding his Government was “doing our best to manage it”.

RELATED: ‘I’m done with this’: Andrews erupts

“We would prefer better management of these arrangements, but this is something that happened that was outside of our control,” he said.

“If New South Wales and the NT want to open up to other countries, there is now an issue as to how to manage those people coming from other countries border-hopping.

“Our system has worked, we’ve managed to pick these people up and put them into quarantine.

“It would just be great if (the Federal Government) were to better assist us in managing these things with appropriate information being provided to the State Government about people who might be catching flights across state borders.”

TUDGE SLAMS VICTORIA

Mr Tudge earlier hit back at the Victorian Government, saying it knew about arrangements that saw 17 New Zealanders try to enter Melbourne on Friday.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton “represented” the state at meeting to discuss what should happen if New Zealanders flew from Sydney or Darwin to another Australian state, Mr Tudge said.

“We further understand from The Age newspaper today that the Premier’s own department had in fact given authorisation to individuals who had arrived from New Zealand to Sydney to then travel on to Victoria,” Mr Tudge told reporters.

“So the Victorian Government was present when it was discussed, they were made aware that this was going to occur, they raised no objections in the meetings, and furthermore, expressly authorised individuals who were arriving into Sydney from New Zealand to be able to travel on into Victoria.”

Mr Tudge asked Mr Andrews to “reveal” the emails that “show, clearly and demonstrably, that they authorised the people to come into Victoria”, which would “completely clear this up”.

RELATED: What Victorians can and can’t do

Yesterday, Mr Andrews said he was “very disappointed” that the travellers had been able to enter his state.”

“We’re disappointed this has happened given that I had written to the Prime Minister on this very issue the previous day, saying at some point we will join that New Zealand/Australia travel bubble, but it is not appropriate now,” he said.

“We don’t want anything at all to undermine the amazing job that Victorians have done and are doing. Some things have gone wrong here. We are very much at the end of that, not necessarily part of it. We made it clear that we didn’t want to be part – could not be part of the bubble arrangements at this point.”

Mr Andrews said it was “not fair” when Victorians can’t freely move around their own state to have people arriving from another country, “without us knowing”.



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New Zealand vs Australia, Bledisloe Cup first Test live score, stats and commentary



A new-look Wallabies squad is attempting to pull off an upset win over the All Blacks in the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington.

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Wallabies would offer renewed hope to Australian rugby with a Bledisloe Cup victory over New Zealand


So, here we are then.

Living at a time when we must protect the elderly and the vulnerable, remain distant for fear of contamination and limit our exposure to all forms of media lest the constant stream of bad news erode our already fragile mental health.

The novel coronavirus? Well, yes, that is also the cause of some concern and inconvenience.

But the virulent threat to the wellbeing of Australians to which I refer is the Bledisloe Cup, which returns this weekend in an unusual Sunday afternoon time slot that would usually be as inviting as the White House buffet.

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome, the definition of stark raving dribbling-down-your-chin bonkers is tuning in on Sunday and expecting the Wallabies to be anything other than roadkill for the All Blacks.

Michael Hooper walks with his head down with his teammates behind him
The Wallabies have failed to reclaim the Bledisloe Cup under Michel Hooper’s captaincy.(AP: Brett Phibbs)

Given the Bledisloe Cup has been missing from the Wallabies’ trophy cabinet since 2003, what leads you to believe there is any more hope of them winning in Wellington than there is of Alan Jones inviting former Rugby Australia (RA) chief executive Raelene Castle over for Christmas dinner?

Except … there is something quite enticing about this season’s first encounter, a hint of renewal and purpose that has either created the cruellest of false hopes for local rugby fans or — dare we believe? — is the turning point for Australian sport’s great underachiever.

Rogue African nations have conducted coups less bloody than Australian rugby’s recent purge. The coach, chief executive and chairman have all gone, while one of Qantas’ few scheduled departures was from RA.

But for all this shuffling of deckchairs on the Titanic, most of the responsibility for avoiding the iceberg falls to new coach David Rennie, who happily possesses impeccable credentials.

He is an acclaimed coach with a proven record and — as a Kiwi appointed by the previous administration — will be the perfect scapegoat if things go pear-shaped again.

Dave Rennie wears a black suit with a black tie and white shirt
Dave Rennie’s appointment as coach has offered hope to Wallabies fans.(AAP/SNPA: David Rowland)

So far, Rennie’s team is making all the right noises about their new mentor. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto spoke of how Rennie has “gone really well in building the culture and getting the boys to understand different cultures because we all come from different places”.

This seems an important step forward from the days when the different places from which the Wallabies came were not multicultural backgrounds but private schools such as Joeys, Riverview or Nudgee, and the cultural divide was between their different hazing rituals, school songs and their parents’ choice of European car.

Change has also brought renewal with no less than 16 uncapped players in the extended Wallabies squad, creating the possibility the jersey presentations will take longer than the game if Rennie goes all-in on youth.

Rennie has maintained one link with the past by reappointing the redoubtable captain Michael Hooper, who will play his 100th Test for Australia on Sunday, a feat that will place him in an elite group of just 12 Wallabies.

Australia’s relative lack of success makes this is an even more laudable achievement given maintaining your place in the Wallabies line-up for so long must have seemed — at times — like being the last person waiting to be rescued from a burning building.

Added feeling to Bledisloe Cup clash

During a desultory period for the Wallabies, softened only by the occasional highlight such as the unexpected ride to the 2015 World Cup final, you could feel the wider public interest and passion for a once-beloved national team drain away.

At the same time, the All Blacks — with their famed shed-cleaning culture, internationally recognised brand and serial winning — gained grudging respect in the rugby states and unfettered admiration from those of us residing outside rugger heartland.

The All Blacks pose for a photo around the Bledisloe Cup after defeating Australia's Wallabies in Auckland.
The All Blacks retained the Bledisloe Cup with their win in Auckland last year.(AAP: David Rowland)

It might horrify the hardcore Wallabies faithful and those ex-players still showing the scars from All Black boot studs but as a rivalry became an occupation, the All Blacks have imposed a form of sporting Stockholm syndrome on some Australians.

But there is some real needle to this Bledisloe Cup clash, partly the result of the unusual COVID-era conditions that necessitated hard bargaining on either side of the Tasman about scheduling and conditions.

This brought out the smug and dictatorial streak in New Zealand Rugby, whose resistance to Australia’s COVID-related scheduling requirements has been both abrupt and high-handed.

Well, this is the version widely reported by the Australian media. And during a year when sport is replete with saccharine stories about “athlete sacrifice” and usually bitter rivalries are diluted by “wonderful cooperative efforts just to get on the field”, a bit of old-fashioned argy-bargy is a welcome sign of normality.

Then there is the broader trans-Tasman rivalry which, to be honest, has been rather awkward for Australians in recent years as the Kiwis enhanced their reputation as the noble diplomats of cricket, entertainment and even global politics.

The pandemic, however, has presented a rare opportunity to look bitterly across the pond and curse New Zealanders for their laughably minuscule COVID rates, their relatively short and highly effective lockdown period, their substantial and relatable prime minister and — most of all — their refusal to let us in.

A shock Bledisloe Cup defeat by a resurgent and exciting young Wallabies team coached by one of their own is just the thing these entitled small islanders deserve for having it so good.

So an against-all-odds Wallabies victory would come at just the right time both to help regenerate the game, and provide something fans have missed during this Kumbaya period of world sport: sheer bloody spite.

Offsiders will review all the big sports stories and issues on Sunday at 10:00am on ABC TV.



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Australian Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett quits Super Netball to play in New Zealand


Australian Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett has been given an early release from her Giants’ Super Netball contract to move to New Zealand to play in its domestic competition next season.

Bassett had one year remaining on her Giants deal but decided to join Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic after enduring a frustrating Super Netball season in 2020.

The 32-year-old goal shooter was given limited time on court following the introduction of the two-point super shot and was often used off the bench in a campaign that saw the Giants finish sixth on the Super Netball standings.

The lack of court time had led to much speculation about Bassett’s future in Super Netball towards the end of the regular season.

Bassett said getting more court time was behind her decision to move to the Magic.

“My time with the Giants didn’t play out as anticipated and I guess that’s just sport sometimes,” she said in a Giants statement.

“I am grateful for the opportunity that the club provided me and the friendships that I’ve made, but I need to make the right decision for what’s best for me and my netball career moving forward.”

A Giants Super Netball player turns to the left to catch the ball with both hands against Collingwood.
Bassett had a year remaining on her Giants’ Super Netball contract.(AAP: Albert Perez)

Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald said Bassett was leaving the club with its blessing.

“Caitlin and I had some open and honest discussions at the back half of the season and we both agree that the time is right for her to explore other opportunities,” she said.

New Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich said Bassett’s move would not affect her position in the national squad.

“Caitlin is a valued member of the Diamonds squad and we look forward to working with her and the rest of the group as we prepare for the resumption of international competition in 2021,” she said.

Bassett, who was recently named Diamonds captain for the Constellation Cup series against New Zealand in early 2021, has signed a one-year contract with the Magic.

Her deal with the Magic includes the option of a second season with the club.

She won back-to-back Super Netball championships with Sunshine Coast Lightning in 2017 and 2018 before joining the Giants.

Bassett made her international debut for the Diamonds in 2008 and was a member of the World Cup-winning squads in 2011 and 2015.



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Australia beats New Zealand to equal ODI world record for most consecutive wins



The Australian women’s cricket team has equalled the world record for most consecutive ODI wins following a 232-run victory over New Zealand at Allan Border Field in Brisbane.

Despite being without injured captain Meg Lanning, Australia matched the ODI record of 21 consecutive victories set by Ricky Ponting’s men’s side in 2003.

The result completed a whitewash in the trans-Tasman Rose Bowl ODI series and marked Australia’s biggest win over the White Ferns in the women’s 50-over game.

After being sent in, stand-in skipper Rachael Haynes (96 off 104 balls) and fellow opener Alyssa Healy (87 off 87) helped steer Australia to a daunting total of 5-325.

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The White Ferns were bowled out for 93 in 27 overs as Australia marched to its ninth straight win over the visitors.

New Zealand was asked to pull off a record run chase after the hosts posted their highest ODI total against the White Ferns, their second biggest on Australian soil and fourth best overall.

Instead, the White Ferns slumped to their ninth lowest total in ODI history and worst since they were dismissed for 80 by India in 1982.

The wicket-taking duties were shared around by the Australians, with Sophie Molineux, Ashleigh Gardner, Jess Jonassen and Megan Schutt taking two wickets each.

Australia had big shoes to fill without Lanning, who had not been dismissed this series after scores of 62 not out and an unbeaten 101.

Lanning suffered a hamstring tweak compiling a century in the second match of the series on Monday.

Haynes stepped up in Lanning’s absence, hitting 10 fours and two sixes to just fall short of her second ODI century.

She shared a 144-run opening stand with Healy, who hit 13 fours and a six.

Healy posted her highest ODI score against the White Ferns after being dropped on 61 and 67.

Leg spinner Amelia Kerr was the best of the White Ferns’ bowlers with figures of 3-50 from 10 overs.

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Australia v New Zealand third ODI live ScoreCentre: Scores, stats and commentary



Australia is just one win away from equally the world record ODI winning streak of 21 as it faces New Zealand in the third match of the Rose Bowl Series.

However the hosts will be without skipper Meg Lanning, who is out with a hamstring strain.

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Australia vs New Zealand live ScoreCentre: Second ODI scores stats and results



Australia hopes to secure the ODI series against New Zealand after Saturday’s comprehensive seven-wicket victory at Allan Border Field in Brisbane.

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Meg Lanning is back in her natural element after marshalling Australia’s ODI victory over New Zealand


At Allan Border Field on Saturday, as she put together an untroubled and unbeaten 62 runs against New Zealand to knock off a modest chase of 181, there was a sense that Meg Lanning was coming home.

Not home in terms of being Australian captain on Australian shores after the long winter and virus delays. Home in terms of format.

As good as Lanning has been in Twenty20 cricket, the 50-over game has long seemed to be her most natural fit.

That impression was set through the first five or six years of a career that used to be so far above the level attainable by anyone else.

When Lanning’s international career started, no female cricketers had professional pay or training. The standard wasn’t as high and most players battled for their runs. It was revelatory for this kid to emerge with the full range of shots: cuts and drives and sweeps with a crispness and consistency all her own; timing so clean she could clear the rope regularly.

Lanning first walked out to bat for Australia in 2011, aged 18, and knocked off a One-Day International century in her second match.

The opposing captain that day was Charlotte Edwards, who had debuted in 1997. At the time of Lanning’s first ton, Edwards had four. Lanning would add another century in her 10th match, then one in her 14th, then her 18th. She had four centuries within two years.

A cricketer raises her bat in one hand and her helmet in the other as he celebrates her century.
Meg Lanning raising her bat has become a common sight.(Reuters/Action Images: Peter Cziborra)

Edwards would stay ahead of Lanning to finish her career with the women’s record for most ODI centuries: nine of them from 191 matches. Lanning later equalled that mark in 45 games.

Nobody in the game scored runs like that. Nobody had. She revolutionised the pace of scoring too, flying along at nearly six runs per over, more than 96 runs per 100 balls.

Most strike rates in women’s ODIs at that stage were in the 70s, while the handful of standout attacking players were low 80s.

The peak Lanning moment came during the 2017 World Cup.

Chamari Atapattu had just marmalised Australia’s bowlers for 178 not out, carrying Sri Lanka to 262. Her 22 fours and half dozen sixes were delivered with an inspired violence that would have left any team stunned.

Out came Lanning and rattled up 152 runs of her own, almost as large, almost as fast, also unbeaten. Her innings though was clinical. Just the one six, picking the gaps, lacing the field. Atapattu had produced a miracle, Lanning delivered an inevitability. Australia lost two wickets in the win.

Meg Lanning sets off on a run wearing cricket kit
Meg Lanning is excellent in T20 cricket. She’s even better in the 50-over format.(AAP: Richard Wainwright)

That was her 11th ton in the format. But it was in the same tournament when Lanning’s seat at the top began to slip. A long-term shoulder injury worsened and she strategically missed matches to manage it.

In the semi-final against India her team was pulverised by another score in the 170s, this time from Harmanpreet Kaur, and in the chase Lanning batted all but one-handed, cradling her arm close to her body as though it were held in a sling. She was bowled for nought.

She spent a long time out after surgery, missing an Ashes and a Big Bash season, and afterwards came back to the pack a little.

Her piles of domestic runs had not previously helped a busted Melbourne Stars outfit to compete, nor did the Perth Scorchers become contenders when she joined them.

She added her twelfth ODI hundred in 2018 against the limited bowling of Pakistan, but around that she registered a sequence of low to modest scores. Those spanned India away, Pakistan in Malaysia, New Zealand’s previous Australian visit, and England for the 2019 Ashes.

Meg Lanning sways out of the way of a ball
Lanning combines a patient approach with a full array of shots.(AAP: Tracey Nearmy)

In part, perhaps, it was that others were catching up. Her injury in 2017 had coincided with the start of full professionalism in Australia, once the player pay agreement had been struck with Cricket Australia after a vicious fight.

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Able to focus fully on training thanks to central contracts, Ellyse Perry’s batting continued its upward trajectory, while that of Alyssa Healy, Beth Mooney, Rachael Haynes and Ash Gardner curved sharply after it. Australia’s batting wasn’t only about Lanning anymore.

That quiet patch started to resolve itself in late 2019, when she made her 13th and most recent century in the West Indies, then some decent scores at home against Sri Lanka. But she has also been up against a paucity of 50-over cricket.

Leading up to the Women’s T20 World Cup that took place in Australia in early 2020, there was a long lead-up focus on the shortest form.

In 2016 Australia had played 15 ODIs, and another 14 the following year. That dropped to six matches in 2018 and nine matches in 2019. This year Australia will only play the current three-game series, with the one-day World Cup that was due in early 2021 postponed by a year.

An Australian batter raises her bat with her left arm after scoring a half-century in a women's ODI against New Zealand.
Meg Lanning’s unbeaten 62 was a delight at Allan Border field on Saturday.(AAP: Dan Peled)

Who knows when Lanning will next get the chance of a decent stretch of ODIs to get her game humming and her numbers ticking over. What she did show this week, though, was the ability to restart her game almost a year since her previous one-dayer.

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Lanning has always been an edgy starter, so the 50-over format gives her more time to settle in than the shorter form. She used all of that in Saturday’s game as Sophie Devine tested her around the off stump.

Lanning didn’t score from 10 Devine deliveries, including a wide, a no-ball, and the subsequent free hit. Yet when she scored, she did so with a perfect, relaxed flick off the pads over deep backward square for six.

That set the template for her day: with the luxury of waiting for the deliveries she wanted, then offering the shot she preferred. A straight drive, a pull, and despite a stacked off-side field, eventually a trademark glide behind point that beat the sweeper for four. She finished the game with a skip and a swing over long-off for six, ending on 62 not out.

No fuss, no excess, just power melded with restraint and applied with timing. The Lanning method as it has been from the start.

In nearly a decade at the top, the format’s best batter has only had the chance to play 81 matches. She has only missed nine.

In this series and in this context, as briefly as both may last, we had the chance to see again what she can do. Probably still better than anyone.



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