Looking back at the era of Smith, Warner, Lanning and Perry, and who’s next for Australian cricket


The Test series loss by the Australian men’s cricket team to India will trigger a period of reflection, as players, fans and selectors wonder what’s next.

The loss comes about 10 years after Australia’s four most senior players made their debuts: Tim Paine (2010), Steve Smith (2010), Nathan Lyon (2011) and David Warner (2011).

It’s been a rollercoaster decade: highs like holding onto the Ashes in 2019 after the cheating incident, but also multiple home series defeats against both India and South Africa.

Despite the failure to dismiss India at the Gabba, Australia’s bowling attack is its most fierce since the attack led by Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath at the turn of the century.

Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon are in elite company with at least 200 Test wickets each, and spearhead Pat Cummins with 164 is not far behind.

Queensland spinner Mitch Swepson took 10 wickets against NSW in November.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

If the form of Starc and Lyon continues to tail off, there are others ready to step up.

James Pattinson heads a backup band supported by players like Jhye Richardson, Sean Abbott and Chris Tremain.

Fears spin has become an area of weakness have been allayed somewhat this year by leg-spinner Mitch Swepson’s 23 wickets in the Sheffield Shield season so far. 

A run-scoring duopoly

Steve Smith and David Warner have defined the past decade of Australian men’s Test cricket … for good and bad.

Smith was recognised as the ICC’s Test player of the decade last year. He is on track to match some of the game’s great scoring records if his form holds up, while Warner is not far behind.

David Warner and Steve Smith
David Warner and Steve Smith in South Africa in 2018 during the tour they cheated.(Reuters: Rogan Ward)

Even comparing their records with the 100 all-time accumulators of Test runs, they both impress.

But the gap between them and their current team-mates is jarring.

Since the debuts of Smith in 2010, dozens of batters have been tried and discarded.

Of those that made it to at least 20 innings, some, like Ed Cowan, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh, have been unlucky given their replacements have struggled even more than them.

Of the current crop, only Marnus Labuschagne appears to be on a similar trajectory to Smith and Warner.

Following defeat against India, selectors will go back over recent first-class performances. Will Pucovski and Cameron Green have already been elevated, but others like Ben McDermott are knocking on the door.

Australia is scheduled to host the Ashes in November.

Lanning climbs the ladder

The Australian women’s cricket team capped off a successful decade with their Twenty20 World Cup win in March, days before the coronavirus lockdown.

It was their fifth T20 title from six attempts since 2010.

After failing to make the final in the 2017 ODI World Cup, they will be looking to capitalise on the talents of the current generation to make amends in 2022 in New Zealand — six current players are among the top 100 run scorers of all time.

Two cricketers hug as they celebrate a T20 international victory.
Meg Lanning and Ellyse Perry will be looking to crown a dominant era at the 2022 World Cup.(Reuters: Peter Cziborra)

Lanning is on the path to become the greatest ever if she can replicate the run scoring of her first decade in ODIs.

Ellyse Perry was recently named ICC’s women’s cricketer of the decade, despite enduring a tough year.

Her status as an all-time great is secured, but the team’s bowling attack has strength in depth.

Both Megan Shutt and Jess Jonassen debuted in 2012 and now have more than 200 ODI wickets between them.

The team plays Twenty20 and ODIs in New Zealand in March and April. The ODI World Cup is scheduled for the same time in 2022.

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ICC Teams of the Decade, Meg Lanning, Steve Smith, David Warner, Ellyse Perry, Allysa Healy


Nine Australians have been named in the ICC’s Teams of the Decade, which were unveiled on Sunday evening AEDT.

David Warner and Steve Smith were both included in the Men’s Test Team of the Decade, with the pair collectively scoring 14,471 runs and 50 centuries in the game’s longest format during the adjudicated period.

Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara also featured in the XI as the designated wicketkeeper, despite not donning the gloves in a Test match since 2008.

Warner was named in the Men’s ODI Team of the Decade alongside Australian teammate Mitchell Starc, who was the highest wicket-taker in consecutive 50-over World Cups in 2015 and 2019.

Meanwhile, Australian one-day captain Aaron Finch and white-ball powerhouse Glenn Maxwell were both included in the Men’s T20I Team of the Decade.

Indian superstar Virat Kohli was the only player to feature in all three men’s sides. He was anointed captain of the Test XI, while former Indian teammate MS Dhoni was named the ODI and T20 teams’ skipper.

Meg Lanning, Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry were unsurprising additions in the Women’s ODI Team of the Decade, with the trio collectively scoring 8464 runs and 19 centuries in the 50-over format.

Having won four T20 World Cup titles this decade, four Australians also featured in the Women’s T20I Team of the Decade, in which pace bowler Megan Schutt was named alongside Lanning, Healy and Perry.

Lanning was anointed captain of both the ODI and T20I Teams of the Decade.

The ICC are expected to announce the best players of the decade across all formats on Monday AEDT.

Men’s Test Team of the Decade

Alastair Cook (ENG), David Warner (AUS), Kane Williamson (NZ), Virat Kohli (c) (IND), Steve Smith (AUS), Kumar Sangakkara (wk) (SL), Ben Stokes (ENG), Ravichandran Ashwin (IND), Dale Steyn (SA), Stuart Broad (ENG), Jimmy Anderson (ENG)

Women’s ODI Team of the Decade

Alyssa Healy (AUS), Suzie Bates (NZ), Mithali Raj (IND), Meg Lanning (c) (AUS), Stafanie Taylor, Sarah Taylor (wk) (ENG), Ellyse Perry (AUS), Dane van Niekerk (SA), Marizanne Kapp (SA), Jhulan Goswami (IND), Anisa Mohammed (WI)

Men’s ODI Team of the Decade

Rohit Sharma (IND), David Warner (AUS), Virat Kohli (IND), AB de Villiers (SA), Shakib Al Hasan (BAN), MS Dhoni (c & wk) (IND), Ben Stokes (ENG), Mitchell Starc (AUS), Trent Boult (NZ), Imran Tahir (SA), Lasith Malinga (SL)

Women’s T20I Team of the Decade

Alyssa Healy (wk) (AUS), Sophie Devine (NZ), Suzie Bates (NZ), Meg Lanning (c) (AUS), Harmanpreet Kaur (IND), Stafanie Taylor (WI), Deandra Dottin (WI), Ellyse Perry (AUS), Anya Shrubsole (ENG), Megan Schutt (AUS), Poonam Yadav (IND)

Men’s T20I Team of the Decade

Rohit Sharma (IND), Chris Gayle (WI), Aaron Finch (AUS), Virat Kohli (IND), AB de Villiers (SA), Glenn Maxwell (AUS), MS Dhoni (c & wk) (IND), Kieron Pollard (WI), Rashid Khan (AFG), Jasprit Bumrah (IND), Lasith Malinga (SL)



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Rare Meg Lanning duck as Melbourne Stars lose to Brisbane Heat


The defeat came on a day when Stars skipper Meg Lanning had a rare failure. The superstar batter, who had been the competition’s second leading run-scorer, was beaten outside off stump first ball by pacer Delissa Kimmince and then fell on the second when she was troubled by the extra bounce and slashed straight to deep gully. It was her first duck of the series.

Heat counterpart Jess Jonassen (35 off 19) set the tone in response, thumping seven boundaries until she slashed spinner Alana King’s first delivery to point.

Georgia Redmayne (37 off 32) maintained the momentum before Katherine Brunt produced one of the best pieces of fielding of the season, coming off her own bowling. The left-handed Redmayne had bunted the ball to leg side and, after a moment of hesitation, set off for a single. This was the break Brunt needed. Having chased down the ball, and turning on her knees, she threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end.

The Stars did well to drag the contest into the final over, leaving the Heat with eight runs to win. Victory, though, was achieved within two deliveries for power-hitter Laura Kimmince (19 off five) took to fast bowler Annabel Sutherland, including a reverse sweep for four.

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Lanning’s surprise lapse gave former skipper Elyse Villani (24 off 27) and South African Mignon du Preez (51 off 38), the latter already among the top five run-scorers this season, the chance to dominate. They put on 53 in good time before Villani took on leggie Amelia Kerr once too often and was stumped.

The Stars clearly had made a pre-match decision to attack the spin of Jonassen – and that’s what they did. The frontline Australian spinner had 13 taken from her first over – including a straight six by du Preez – and 11 from her second, including successive boundaries by du Preez.

Du Preez’s fourth half-century of the campaign came off 36 deliveries, and it was no surprise this was confirmed with a lofted drive down the ground off spinner Charli Knott. But just when a big score loomed, she fell in the same over when caught just inside the long-on boundary.

Robust all-rounder Nat Sciver (33 off 28) brought her power game but the Stars were halted when she and Sutherland (three off six), the latter coming off a player-of-the-match effort, fell in the 17th over.



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Australian captain Meg Lanning reclaims ICC number one ODI batting ranking



Australian captain Meg Lanning has returned to the number one ranking on the International Cricket Council’s ODI batting standings following her superb performances against New Zealand in the recent Rose Bowl series.

Lanning missed the third and final match of the series because of injury but posted unbeaten knocks of 62 and 101 in the opening two encounters.

She replaces West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor at number one, while Australian teammate Alyssa Healy drops down to third position on the standings.

It is the fifth time Lanning has held the number one ranking, having first topped the standings in 2014.

Ellyse Perry missed the Rose Bowl series because of injury. She dropped four places to seventh on the batting rankings but is still in top place on the allrounder standings.

Australian spinner Jess Jonassen remained number one on the ODI bowling rankings.

Jonassen claimed eight wickets at an average of 10.12 and an economy rate of 3.35 against the White Ferns.

Megan Schutt is ranked third on the bowling standings, with Perry in eighth place.

Australia equalled the world record for most consecutive ODI wins with its 232-run victory over New Zealand at Allan Border Field in Brisbane on Wednesday.

The result meant Australia matched the ODI record of 21 consecutive wins set by Ricky Ponting’s men’s side in 2003.

The win completed a whitewash in the Rose Bowl ODI series and marked Australia’s biggest win over the White Ferns in the women’s 50-over game.

Australia had earlier beaten the White Ferns by seven wickets in last Saturday’s series opener and four wickets in the second match on Monday.



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Aussie captain Meg Lanning back to the top of the world rankings


Australia captain Meg Lanning could spend over 1000 days as the best batter in the world, rocketing back to the top of the world rankings for the fifth time after leading her team to a record equalling one-day winning streak.

An unbeaten century against New Zealand on Monday, her 14th in ODIs, was enough for the rampaging skipper to cement her status as the best batter in the world.

Lanning, 28, has been on top of the rankings five times, but not since October 2018, having battled shoulder injuries in recent years before returning to captrain her team to a T20 World Cup win earlier this year.

She racked up 163 runs in just two of the three matches against the Kiwis, missing the record-equalling 21st win with a hamstring strain, including her 101 not out in the second match.

That helped lanning jump four places in the rankings, to dislodge West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor from the top.

Lanning has been the number one ranked batter for total of 902 days since the first time in November 2014, an amazing achievement for the Sir Donald Bradman of the women’s game.

Aussie spinner Jess Jonassen, who took eight wickets in the series, consolidate her position as the number one ODI bowler in the world.

Jonassen has been No.1 for 599 days spread over six spells, including the ongoing one that commenced in October 2019.

Australia also retained it’s position as the number one team in the world, a position hardly in question as they look to break the 17 year-old world record set by Ricky Ponting’s Australian men’s side in 2003.

Lanning’s team has not tasted defeat in the 50-over format since October 2017, sweeping the seven series they’ve played since, and won two T20 World Cups in that timeframe.



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Meg Lanning and Rachael Haynes prove brilliant partners for Australia in routine run chase


Monday mornings shouldn’t be the time for anyone to be at their best. But nearing the end of a tough tour, it was Monday morning this week when things finally started to click for New Zealand’s cricketers.

Sent in to bat by Australian captain Meg Lanning in the second One-Day International, they didn’t collapse as they had in the first. Natalie Dodd put on a crisp 75-run opening stand with Sophie Devine, who then added another 93 with Amy Satterthwaite.

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Dodd has just rejoined the side after four years out, as has Satterthwaite after 18 months on maternity leave, while the captain Devine had lost her best batter Suzie Bates to injury in the previous match. The platform they built defied these difficulties.

Five wickets in the last two overs restrained the score, but 252 was a total that New Zealand would have been delighted with. It was a solid target, the biggest to be scored on Allan Border Field. It should have been tough.

Instead, Australia ran it down as though it were routine. The reason was the central partnership from Lanning and her deputy Rachael Haynes: 117 runs in 20.1 overs, at almost a run a ball.

This took the place of Lanning’s combination with the injured Ellyse Perry. In ODIs from 2014 to 2019, the pair made 1,809 runs in 24 partnerships at a ridiculous average of 95.

Eight of those partnerships went past a century, six others past fifty. Opponents excited by Australia’s first two wickets have then been faced with the seeming inevitability of Lanning and Perry endlessly churning out runs.

In the years while that partnership was taking shape, Haynes was out of the team. She was dropped in England in 2013, and only got back in 2017 in a lucky break as an injury replacement. Soon she was deputising as captain when Lanning underwent shoulder surgery.

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But having both settled back in the team, their unions have become a feature. Now, with Perry absent thanks to an injury of her own, the Lanning-Haynes stand is doing the job that the Lanning-Perry stand once did. In Saturday’s first ODI, it was worth 65 runs chasing 180, backed up on Monday by the 117.

In total, Lanning and Haynes have now scored 1,107 ODI runs in each other’s company. More pertinent are their runs since the Haynes comeback: seven innings for 653 runs averaging 93. Those really are Lanning-Perry numbers.

Monday’s effort was a true partnership. Having lost Alyssa Healy for a fast 21, Haynes stayed aggressive. Chasing a sizeable score, it was important to keep taking chunks out of it, rather than letting the required rate build up.

That gave Lanning the luxury of chilling out. She defended as she pleased, took the odd single, looked to the boundary when the ball was exactly where she wanted it to be.

Haynes in contrast manufactured what she wanted. In the space of Lanning’s first two boundaries, Haynes hit the rope seven times and cleared it once. She was especially harsh on anything short, pulling savagely over the leg side, or stepping across to wider balls to slash through point.

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Part of Australia’s plan to was to target leg-spinner Amelia Kerr, to throw her off her game, and Haynes duly skipped up and down the wicket attacking five of Kerr’s first six balls but hitting each to the field. The batter gave a frustrated shrug and smile at the end of the over but followed up by coming down the wicket in Kerr’s next over to loft four over long-on.

By the time Haynes hit a catch to cover for 82, Australia had 154 from 159 balls, well ahead of the run rate and in position to cruise home.

She had also helped Lanning reach 46 from 51, primed to take the wheel. The constant aggression of Haynes’s strokeplay had kept New Zealand nervous throughout.

Lanning unsurprisingly disregarded a few more wickets falling and took the chase home. Always one to say the right things about team ethos, she wanted her batting partner Nicola Carey to hit the winning runs despite her own score sitting on 97.

Meg Lanning brought the chase home for Australia, completing her 14th ODI century with the winning runs.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

With five overs and four wickets to spare, Carey rightly ignored that instruction after her early attempt at a single was misfielded to concede a boundary to leave Australia three short of the target.

That left Lanning to win the match, raise a 14th ODI century, and secure the Rose Bowl trophy, all with a boundary glided behind point. Those 14 tons had taken her 82 innings, faster even than the freakish Virat Kohli with 84.

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Her run-chase record against New Zealand accounts for several of those hundreds: it now reads 11, 72, 103, 112, 5, 114, 127, 44, 104 not out, 48, 48, 62 not out, and 101 not out. The lowest of those scores was the only match that Australia lost.

Four of those innings involved big partnerships with one particular player, and another three involved partnerships with another. The Lanning-Perry stand, followed by the Lanning-Haynes stand. Either would make a good name for a piece of architecture at a cricket ground of the future.



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World Cup winner Meg Lanning returns to Melbourne


World Cup winning Australian captain Meg Lanning has rejoined the Melbourne Stars for this year’s WBBL season after three years with the Perth Scorchers.

The 28-year-old Victorian returns to the team she captained in the first two seasons of the WBBL before jumping ship to the Scorchers where she missed her first season with a shoulder surgery.

Only five players have scored more WBBL runs than Lanning who was the Stars’ inaugural women’s captain and the leading run-scorer in the first two WBBL seasons playing with Melbourne.

Lanning returns to a team which finished bottom of the table last summer with just two wins from 14 matches. The Stars are also the only WBBL team to have never reached the finals.

The WWBL signing embargo has only just bee lifted, and the Stars have six players, including Lanning, on their roster to play under new coach Trent Woodhill.

Lanning said working with Woodhill, who has been a batting guru to the likes of Aussie superstar David Warner, was a strong lure home

“His knowledge of the T20 game and to have worked with so many great players and different franchises in different tournaments is great experience to have, so I’m certainly looking forward to working with him and seeing what his philosophy is on T20 cricket especially,” he said.


Woodhill, who is also the list manager for both men’s and women’s squads, said having Lanning back was a massive boost for the green team as it tries to become a WWBL force.

“Having Meg back at the Stars is huge, it’s almost like starting again. It’s the chance for the Stars to reset,” he said.

“We won’t be putting too much pressure on Meg to be the star of the show, but we know Meg is a star of world cricket.

“We want to be able to provide her with the environment where she can thrive, and bring out the best in her by having as much fun as possible through success and establishing a winning culture.”

The Stars will spend most of the WBBL season on the road when it starts on the weekend of 17-18 October, not playing in Melbourne until November.



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Lanning set to return to WBBL Stars as Woodhill named coach


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His grasp of the nuances of the game is second to none and he will even aid Lanning, the Australian World Cup-winning captain and batting great, who is set to return to the Stars after three seasons with the Perth Scorchers. Industry sources say the Stars have offered her a three-year deal.

Lanning has received a non-binding offer but cannot sign until the CA-imposed embargo period for state and Big Bash teams ends this month.

Woodhill told The Age he was excited to coach and wants his team to be known as one that will fight and scrap.

“I will probably be a little more hard-edged on competitiveness … this year will be about scrapping. I want the younger players to learn how to scrap and the more experienced players to continue to learn,” he said.

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“I want athletic players who want an opportunity. There are lots of players at other franchises who are happy to sit on the pine rather than put themselves in the spotlight. We want players who want to put themselves under the spotlight.”

The women’s Stars have only five players signed for next season – Elyse Villani, Annabel Sutherland, Holly Ferling, Nicole Faltum and Alana King – and have yet to make the finals in five seasons.

Woodhill said he could not confirm whether Lanning would sign or whether she would captain the side should she return. However, it appears likely Lanning, should she return, will be the skipper, as she had been in her first stint.

It has been a period of major upheaval for the Stars as an overall organisation. After Hemp left following another poor season, the Stars had signed former Australian opener Leah Poulton as women’s coach but she quit after less than a month to accept the role of Head of Female Cricket at NSW.



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