Lanning focuses on the controllable

06 October 2019

Fire alarms, toasted sandwiches and threatened Mankads were not enough to distract Australia's captain on Saturday

Control the controllable.

It’s a mantra Meg Lanning might’ve been forced to repeat to herself more than once during Australia’s 157-run win over Sri Lanka in the opening ODI at Allan Border Field.

The first anomaly of the day was the fire alarm.

Lanning herself was in the middle, cruising along with Rachael Haynes in the early stages of the first innings when the siren sounded.

"I did hear it going off, I think Delissa Kimmince burnt her toast," Lanning laughed.

"I saw the crowd in this (Stuart Law) Pavilion had to get evacuated.

"I don’t think it was anything too dangerous, but it caused a bit of distraction for a little bit."

Despite the rumours swirling around that a ham and cheese toastie enjoyed by Kimmince might’ve been to blame for the evacuation, it was later confirmed that the alarm was in fact a false one.

Delissa Kimmince shows off her toasted sandwich // Getty
Delissa Kimmince shows off her toasted sandwich // Getty

Back to business, for the time being. 

Searching for a 16th consecutive ODI win, Lanning and Haynes looked in imperious touch.

Lanning, exhibiting that famous late cut with trademark class. Haynes, confidently lofting over different parts of the ground effortlessly.

The pair, both passing fifty, appeared destined for two big scores in pursuit of another huge total against the Sri Lankans.

All was going to plan until the 24th over.

The crowd at Allan Border Field groaned when captain Lanning, in a moment of weakness, top-edged an attempted sweep straight to a fielder.

The captain was gone for 73, the 126-run partnership had been broken, and it was Ellyse Perry to join Haynes at the crease.

From then, it took just five balls for Sri Lankan captain Sashikala Siriwardena to threaten a contentious Mankad dismissal.

Off-spinner Siriwardena commenced her run-up as usual, preparing to send down a delivery to Haynes before quickly abandoning her action and sneakily reminding Perry at the non-strikers end to stay within her crease.

Lanning, while unsure if the Sri Lankan bowlers intend to actually effect the run-out at the non-striker’s end, admitted it was something her team was forced to discuss after the first few similar instances during the T20I series.

"We’ve spoken about it, making sure we’re staying in our crease and watching the ball out of the bowlers hand," she said.

"That’s what we can control in the situation.

"I didn’t think any of our players were intending to leave the crease early, but it’s something we’ve got to be aware of."

Mighty Meg leads from front with clinical 73

"It’s part of the game, we haven’t spoken a lot about it, we’ve spoken about what we can control and making sure we stay in our crease until the ball’s let go."

The wording of the Marylebone Cricket Club Law states: "If the non-striker is out of his/her ground at any time from the moment the ball comes into play until the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the non-striker is liable to be run out."

Siriwardena stood by her actions, explaining it’s something her teammates practise in training.

"Actually, considering the new rules and regulations, the batters have to stay in the crease until the ball is released," Siriwardena said after the game.

"We do it in training also, it might help us to get some run-outs also because they have to stay there.

"So it’s a tactical move."

Soon after, Haynes was forced to join Lanning back in the sheds as the opener fell victim to a Siriwardena delivery, and was caught behind on 56.

Free-wheeling Haynes gives Aussies perfect platform

From that point on, aside from Beth Mooney’s 66 from 68 balls, none of the Australian batters were able to work their way into the innings and wickets fell at regular intervals.

Despite all this, Lanning was satisfied with the way her teammates were able to respond to the various challenges thrown their way.

"It’s good to see how people respond in those situations and that’s happened throughout that series," Lanning said after her side’s 16th straight ODI win. 

"(Chamari) Athapaththu, in the first T20 took it to us and I thought the way we responded to that was really good.

"I thought Sri Lanka bowled pretty well today. They kept it tight and were able to take wickets throughout which is was probably the reason we fell a little bit short of what we would’ve liked but all in all it was a pretty good performance.

"We were able to take wickets throughout so that was a pretty pleasing aspect of day."

Australia will be back to take on Sri Lanka in the second ODI at Allan Border Field on Monday. A win will see the team equal the record for longest winning streak in women’s ODI history.

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: October 7, Allan Border Field, Brisbane, 10.10am

Third ODI: October 9, Allan Border Field, Brisbane, 10.10am

*All ODIs are ICC Women's Championship matches

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Australia Women

Sri Lanka Women

CommBank ODI Series v Sri Lanka