The Australian women's cricket team will commence their international summer tomorrow with the start of their mixed format series against India.
The last time the Australian women met India was an exhilarating match, the T20 Women's World Cup Final. Held in the final days prior to the beginning of COVID-19 lockdowns, Australia beat India by 85 runs in a thrilling display of the game played in front of 86,174 spectators.
Both teams hope to recapture the excitement of that game in their upcoming series. The mixed format series will begin with three One Day Internationals, the first taking place tomorrow, at the Great Barrier Reef Arena in Mackay. The other two games will be held on September 24 & 26.
The series will end with three T20 matches on October 7, 9 and 10, held at the Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast. The highlight of the series though will be the Test match scheduled in between the ODIs and T20s, to start on September 30 at the Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.
International Test matches are rare in women's cricket. The last time Australia played India in a test match was in 2005/06. Alyssa Healy, who made her Australian debut in 2010 and her test debut in 2011, has yet to play a test match against a nation other than England.
Speaking to Fox Cricket about the upcoming mixed format series she expressed her excitement about the upcoming Test match:
"These multi format series are really fun to be a part of and the point structure is just a whole other ball game. I never thought we'd have two Tests in the one summer … to be able to play against India and then England in the Ashes is really exciting.
"My Baggy Green is tucked nicely in my backpack and hopefully I can pull it on my head twice (this summer)." Healy went on to add, "Test matches are so much more special for us simply because we don't play a lot of them and it is the pinnacle."
The winners of the series will be determined with the same points system as the one used in the women's Ashes. ODI & T20 wins will be given two points while the Test match will be worth four points. A tie in the Test will see those points split two apiece.
Winning against Australia will not be easy for India. At present the Australian women's national team is on the longest-winning One-Day International streak in international cricket history. Their ODI win against New Zealand earlier this year extended this streak to 22 games.
In doing so they beat the Australian men's side's 2003 ODI streak, lead by then captain Ricky Ponting, which had been the longest run of victories in international cricket.
However, the Indian women did show that they can beat Australia in the shorter form of the game last year. India won two of their five T20 encounters against Australia in 2020.
The squads for the upcoming series are as follows:
Australian Women's Squad
Meg Lanning (c), Rachael Haynes (vc), Darcie Brown, Maitlan Brown, Stella Campbell, Nicola Carey, Hannah Darlington, Ashleigh Gardner, Alyssa Healy, Tahlia McGrath, Sophie Molineux, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Georgia Redmayne, Molly Strano, Annabel Sutherland, Tayla Vlaeminck, Georgia Wareham
Indian Women's Squad
Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vc), Smriti Mandhana, Shafali Verma, Punam Raut, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Shikha Pandey, Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh, Ekta Bisht
Harmanpreet Kaur (c), Smriti Mandhana (vc), Shafali Verma, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Sneh Rana, Yastika Bhatia, Shikha Pandey, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Yadav, Richa Ghosh (wk), Harleen Deol, Arundhati Reddy, Radha Yadav, Renuka Singh