Mercury (Hobart)

Aussies clinch nailbiting win


AUSTRALIAN captain Meg Lanning has declared a “brilliant” tri-series win as ideal preparatio­n for their looming women’s Twenty20 World Cup defence.

Never convincing during the minitourna­ment, Australia did enough in yesterday’s decider to bowl the aggressive Indians out for 144 and win by 11 runs.

The tourists appeared to be on track for their second win against Australia in four days as opener Smriti Mandhana belted 66 from 37 balls at Melbourne’s Junction Oval.

But the turning point came when Nicola Carey hung on to a tough catch near the boundary to dismiss the lethal Mandhana, one delivery after the Australian fumbled a ball that went past her for four.

Left-arm spinner Jess Jonassen produced career-best figures of 5-12 to run through India’s middle-order, stepping up as superstar Ellyse Perry had a rare quiet day. Jonassen’s haul was the second-best by an Australian in W20Is, behind Molly Strano’s 5-10 against New Zealand in 2017.

Three-time Belinda Clark Award winner Perry struggled with the bat as well, out for one as she was dismissed for the fifth time in the series.

In 17 previous WT20I innings, spanning more than two years, the all-rounder had fallen just five times.

It was left to opener Beth Mooney (71 not out) to anchor Australia’s innings of 6-155 with her third half-century of the series after Lanning won the toss and batted. Mooney again had a clean-up job to do after opening partner Alyssa Healy’s shocking run with the bat continued.

Healy finishes the tri-series with 15 runs at an average of three, but Lanning expects the wicketkeep­er to fire in her next outing. Australia lost to India and England during the series, but Lanning couldn’t have hoped for anything more from their five games.

“I think it’s been a brilliant series for us. We’ve been put to the test every game we’ve played,” Lanning said. “[We’ve played] two world-class sides that are going to do very well in this World Cup coming up. I’d take this tournament every day of the week heading into a World Cup.”

Lanning’s team will roll into the World Cup buoyed by the fact they are still winning despite several big names playing below their best.

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