Australia insist they hadn’t spoken about a potential new ODI winning streak of 22 matches and had largely downplayed the topic when asked in the lead-up, but having secured the victory over New Zealand in the first ODI in Mount Maunganui, Alyssa Healy admitted it was a “special feeling” to have overtaken Ricky Ponting’s team.
In the end, it came at a canter as unbeaten half-centuries Ash Gardner and Ellyse Perry secured the run chase with more than 11 overs to spare.
“I guess now the dust has settled. It’s a pretty special feeling and one I definitely think the girls won’t take lightly – it’s a pretty impressive record to break,” Healy, who struck 65 off 68 balls, said. “It’s a special record. A lot of players in that room – me in particular – have idolised Ricky Ponting growing up; he’s exactly how I wanted to bat and take on the game.
“So for us to break a record that had him all over it is pretty special for this group. No doubt when we get back in the dressing room and flick our phones on there might be a bit of hoo-ha about it. We genuinely hadn’t spoken about it but think everyone has some smiles on their faces which is pretty cool.”
Australia have been pushed at times during their run, which started back in March 2018, but plenty of the victories have been handsome margins. One of the aspects that most stood out for Healy was the span of the victories – it has taken more than 1100 days to go from the first win of this run to today’s moment. By contrast, Ponting’s team achieved their streak in the space of five months in early 2003.
“There’s been a lot of years between those games. We don’t play at lot of cricket for Australia, especially over the last 18 months,” she said. “That’s been the most impressive thing that we can come back as a group and still be as consistent as what we have been.”
Twenty-one players have been used in that time and Healy is one of four – alongside Beth Mooney, Rachael Haynes and Gardner – to have appeared in them all. “It is pretty special individually, I guess, to have the longevity that I’ve had throughout my career is pretty surreal actually,” Healy said. “At the same time, it’s been really fun being part of a team that’s had so many different people come in and play a role.”
Australia are in no mood to stop, either. The Rose Bowl – the trophy for which the Australia and New Zealand women’s teams contest their ODI series – has been held by Australia for more than 20 years, and remains up for grabs with two matches left in this series. In regards the schedule that Healy alluded to, their next cricket after that remains uncertain, although it is likely to be a series against India alongside next season’s Ashes before the World Cup back in New Zealand next March.
“[New Zealand] are only 1-0 down in the series, they can still win the next game and take it to a third,” Healy said. “We’re wary of that.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.