Both Australia and India sit on 4 points from 3 games after 2-1 series wins in their opening round of ICC Women’s Championship fixtures. The run rates for Australia’s home series vs England (5.19 rpo) and India’s series in South Africa (4.55 rpo) set the record for bilateral series involving those particular combinations of opponents. There’s no reason to think this series won’t challenge the combined 4.89 rpo that Australia and India scored at when the Indians toured Australia in 2016.
Australia come into the series on the back of ten bilateral ODI series wins in a row (which no doubt makes their World Cup campaign, between the 9th & 10th series wins, sting a little more). Against India, Australia have won all six previous bilateral ODI series contested since 1984.
Bilateral ODI series results between India & Australia:
AUS 4-0 IND, 1984 in India
AUS 4-3 IND, 2004 in India
AUS 3-0 IND, 2006 in Australia
AUS 5-0 IND, 2008 in Australia
AUS 3-0 IND, 2012 in India
AUS 2-1 IND, 2016 in Australia
The overall record between the two sides currently stands at 34-9 to Australia, but India have recorded a couple of important victories in recent years.
Last 5 IND/AUS ODIs:
Australia won by 101 runs at Manuka Oval, Canberra, 2 Feb 2016
Australia won 6 wickets at Bellerive Oval, Hobart, 5 Feb 2016
India won by 5 wickets at Bellerive Oval, Hobart, 7 Feb 2016
Australia won by 8 wickets at County Ground, Bristol (World Cup), 12 Jul 2017
India won by 36 runs at County Ground Derby, (World Cup semi-final), 20 Jul 2017
First, India ended a run of six consecutive ODI losses against Australia with a win at Hobart in February 2016. At the time, this was the highest target India had successfully chased in an ODI (232). India’s timid display at Bristol in the group stage of the 2017 World Cup suggested Australia still had a significant upper hand in the rivalry, but those thoughts were allayed after the extraordinary semi-final at Derby on 20th July.
Australia’s bowlers had no answer to Hamranpreet Kaur’s storming innings of 171* (115), which took India to the highest ever World Cup total vs Australia 281/4 (despite the match being reduced to 42 overs).
Australia’s last international match in India was their loss to the West Indies in the final of the World T20 on 3rd April 2016. Their last ODI on Indian soil was their win against the same opponents in the 2013 World Cup final at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, now over five years ago. That match was marked by one of the great displays of all-round skill and fortitude from Ellyse Perry, battling through an ankle injury.
Perry’s unbeaten fifty partnership for the eighth wicket with captain Jodie Fields took Australia to the highest ever total in a World Cup final, and her opening three overs (3-2-2-3) derailed the West Indian chase before it even had a chance to get going. Perry’s exceptional final figures of 10-3-19-3 remain the most economical 10 overs bowled in a World Cup knock-out match this century.
The last time India played Australia in a home ODI was 11 months earlier, for a series in March 2012. The 2nd match of that series was notable for being the last time Australia posted 300 in an ODI. In the intervening period, Australia have repeatedly expressed a desire to take their scoring to a new level.
Australia remain the most consistent side in terms of 250+ totals (once every 1.93 innings since the start of 2016, the next best is England at once every 3 innings, and the ODI average is 4.57. India are third with a rate of a 250+ total once every 3.56 innings) but have seen several other sides break 300 since they last did. Australia’s 296/6 in the 2nd Ashes ODI in October was their highest total since the 2012 India series.
300+ ODI totals since Australia last made 300:
4 England; New Zealand
3 South Africa
1 West Indies
That 2nd ODI on 14th March 2012 also featured another stellar bowling performance from Perry. Her ODI career best 8.1-3-19-5 are the best ODI figures against India on home soil.
Since that 2013 World Cup ankle injury however, Perry has never quite been as fast or as threatening. Her heroic World Cup final effort was arguably the last great spell of ODI bowling in her career (Perry was excellent with the ball in the Ashes Tests at Perth in 2014 and Canterbury in 2015).
Perry has of course more than made up for diminished returns with the ball by embarking on an astonishing run of scores with the bat.
Ellyse Perry all-round stats up to & after her last ODI in India (2013 WC final):
When she last played an ODI in India, Perry was one of the world’s great fast bowlers. She returns to ODI cricket in India as the one of the most consistent batters in World cricket.
In the 2013 World Cup final, Perry came in at #9 and had batted above #7 just once in her 33 previous ODI innings. In her 38 innings since, Perry has never batted below #6 and has scored the 3rd most runs (1,932), at comfortably the best batting average (74.30) in women’s ODIs.
For the first time since the 2006/7 Rose Bowl series, Australia will play an ODI series without Alex Blackwell, who announced her retirement last month. Blackwell’s absence is made up for by the return of Meg Lanning, who missed the 2017/18 Australian season due to a shoulder injury.
Since Lanning debuted in January 2011, the average women’s ODI batter playing at #1-7 in the order has made a century at a rate of one every 52.17 innings. Lanning’s own rate is one century every 5.72 innings, in other words over nine times better than the average rate. The next best current international (3+ centuries) during that period is Suzie Bates, at a rate of one century every 10.43 innings.
In run chases, Lanning scores a century once every 4.38 innings, which is over 21 times better than the average rate of 93.64 among #1-7 ODI batters since her debut. Lanning has scored 8 of the 22 centuries made in ODI chases worldwide since her debut.
Lanning’s average ODI partnership with Ellyse Perry is 109.57, comfortably the highest among any paring to have batted togetehr 5+ times since Lanning’s debut. Lanning & Perry have made eight century and four fifty partnerships in 18 innings. They are the only pairing in ODI history to have shared more than one 200+ stand. In their nine 2nd innings partnerships, Lanning and Perry have failed to reach their fifty partnership just once.
How Australia line-up will be one of the intriguing aspects of this series, with Elyse Villani and Beth Mooney most likely vying for a single spot. Following the Ashes, Villani is the incumbent but her international returns have never really lived up to expectation. Mooney’s stronger ODI stats, excellent form in the Ashes T20Is, plus a century in the first warm-up game of this tour may be hard to ignore.
A batter Australia are yet to see the best of in ODIs is Ashleigh Gardner. Gardner’s clean-striking and devastating power led to a record 21 sixes at a rate of 1 every 11.9 balls-faced during the most recent WBBL season. If Gardner finds a way to emulate such feats in ODIs, it could well be the key to Australia reaching their desired higher totals.
Smriti Mandhana’s 219 runs in South Africa were the most ever scored for India in a 3 match ODI series. Mithali Raj, who sets a record every time she scores a run in ODIs, had a disappointing ODI series in South Africa (70 runs at 23.33) but took player of the series in the T20Is that followed.
Raj’s ODI average of 34.51 vs Australia is her lowest for any single opponent, though it rises to 41.62 when playing the Australians in India. Raj has yet to make an ODI century in 31 attempts vs Australia (her HS is 89), while her younger counterparts Harmamnpreet Kaur, Punam Raut and Smriti Mandhana have all reached three figures against the Australians.
Kaur’s 171* in the World Cup semi-final is the 2nd highest ODI score vs Australia, and her average of 56.87 is the highest of any player to have batted 10+ times against Australia. Lanning is the only member of the Australian squad to have made an ODI century vs India.
Mandhana and Raut will hope their success vs Australia translates to home soil. While captian Raj and vice-captain Kaur have strong ODI records at home and away, the rest of India’s main batters are mostly yet to prove themselves at home.
Mandhana’s 714 runs in 19 innings at 47.60 (SR 91.89, 3×100, 4×50) away compares starkly with a modest 438 in 16 at 23.05 (SR 65.37, 3×50) at home. Raut and Deepti Sharma’s averages, and especially their strike rates, will have to drastically improve at home if they’re to have a (positive) impact on the series.
In part this is due to a lack of opportunity. India last played a home international fixture 16 months ago, when West indies visited for 3 ODIs & 3 T20Is in November 2016. The sparse nature of the scheduling means ‘form’ is not something that often has a chance to manifest for more than a couple of weeks in women’s international cricket, which makes the performances of Raj, Perry, Lanning, etc all the more remarkable.
This will be the first International tour of Asia for Australia’s exciting legspinner Amanda-Jade Wellington, as well as offspinner Gardner. They and left-arm orthodox Jess Jonassen will hope Indian conditions prove more favourable than those experienced in the Ashes ODIs.
Australian spinners took 11 wickets at 37.00 and 5.19 rpo during the Ashes, compared with 15 at 19.86 at 4.65 rpo for their pace bowlers. Overall however, spinners have been the most successful bowlers so far in the the 2017-20 ICC Women’s Championship,
2017-20 ICC Women’s Championship bowling
While spin will play a pivotal role in this series, the only bowlers in either squad (with 5+ wickets) to average under 30 against their respective opponents are pace bowlers Shikha Pandey of India (10 wickets at 16.50) and Ellyse Perry of Australia (28 wickets at 18.25).
ICC Women’s Championship 2017-20 – India vs Australia
12th March – 1st ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara
15th March – 2nd ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara
18th March – 3rd ODI Reliance Stadium, Vadodara
India: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), 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
Australia: 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