ST JOHN’S, Antigua – West Indies Women emulated their struggling male counterparts with an abject batting performance tonight. The display saw them lose the first One Day International of the three-match ICC Women’s Championship series against Australia’s women by 178 runs at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in St John’s, Antigua.
Batting first after being inserted by their hosts, Australia belted the West Indies bowling attack around the ground as they accumulated a mammoth 308 for 4 in their 50 overs. In response, the home side were bundled for a paltry 130 in 37.3 overs.
West Indies Women fielding a line-up depleted by several injuries to key players, including dynamic all-rounder Deandra Dottin, started the match under a further cloud without the services of their vice-captain Hayley Matthews. The talented Barbadian opener was earlier removed from the squad and is slated to face disciplinary charges related to her conduct.
For the Aussies Meg Lanning (121) and Alyssa Healy (122) gave them a perfect start to the series by both slamming centuries during a scintillating 225-run partnership. Lanning’s was her 13th ODI century – the fastest player, male or female, to reach that landmark, in 76 innings, ahead of Hashim Amla’s 83 – while Healy made her second as the pair dominated the majority of Australia’s innings following the shock of losing Rachael Haynes first ball.
Healy was the first to her landmark off 95 balls with Lanning reaching three figures from 137 deliveries with a six off West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor. In all, Lanning struck four sixes with one of them landing in the swimming pool at the Coolidge Ground. Australia’s eventual margin of victory was their largest by runs against West Indies.
The stand of 225 in 38 overs, in very hot conditions, was Australia’s second highest for any wicket in ODIs, behind the 244 added by Karen Rolton and Lisa Sthalekar against Ireland in 2005. Both players were given lives in what was a ragged display from West Indies.
When Healy departed, the world’s leading female cricketer Ellyse Perry chipped in with an unbeaten 33 off 31 balls. Australia’s innings saw steady progression throughout with the five 10-over splits bringing 55, 51, 62, 66 and 74 runs.
There was precious little for West Indies to take from the innings after the early high of Shamilia Connell having Haynes caught behind although she and Afy Fletcher kept their economy rates under six an over in their allocation of 10 overs.
Perry, getting the new ball to swing, then played a leading role in blowing away West Indies’ top order that severely missed Matthews’ enterprise and class at the top of the order.
Both openers, Natasha McLean and Stacey-Ann King, fell for ducks as did Kyshona Knight as West Indies stumbled to 8 for 3 at the end of the second over and Perry’s third wicket, trapping Reniece Boyce lbw, compounded the problems.
Taylor, offering the majority of what resistance there was with an unbeaten 70 off 114 balls, and Chinelle Henry briefly rallied before Henry drove a return catch to legspinner Georgia Wareham who claimed her second wicket when Lanning added to her stellar day by grabbing a stunning catch, full-stretch to her right, at slip to remove debutant Shakiba Gajnabi.
Taylor showed her teammates what was possible but was left stranded when Connell pulled to mid-on with Kycia Knight unable to bat.