Sport

Australia v India: Southern Stars keen to regain fielding edge in ODI series

The Southern Stars are intent on matching India's skill in the field as they turn their focus to the one-day international arena.

After surprisingly being beaten 2-1 in the Twenty20 series, the Australians have the opportunity to gain revenge in the best-of-three 50-over series, starting with a day-nighter at Manuka Oval in Canberra on Tuesday.

The Southern Stars avoided a clean sweep of the T20 series with a 15-run victory in Sunday's dead rubber at the SCG.

Dual international Ellyse Perry put on a masterclass with bat and ball, smashing 55 off 41 balls before taking a superb 4-21.

Australia's sharp work in the field has been the team's calling card in recent years, but the impressive Indians have had the upper hand in that department so far.

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It is an area Southern Stars vice-captain Alex Blackwell said the side was desperate to address.

"I feel like they've out-fielded us and that will be something we will look to rectify in these one-dayers to have match-turning efforts in the field," Blackwell said.

"Perhaps we have been historically the bar to reach in terms of our fielding ... but India have raised the bar.

"We want to keep improving and keep being No.1 in all formats."

While the Southern Stars have a great record against India in the 50-over format, winning 31 of 38 ODIs, the tourists will be looking to repeat their form from their last one-day series in Australia in 2009 when they won 2-0.

Valuable rankings points in the International Cricket Council's women's one-day championship are also up for grabs.

The Southern Stars are top of the standings ahead of England and New Zealand, with India sitting fourth.

"With the points in the championship, it certainly adds another dimension to the one-dayers," Southern Stars captain Meg Lanning said.

"India have shown they are going to be a really good, competitive unit, so we're going to have to play really well."

Perry's all-round performance at the SCG underlines why there was a tussle for her services between cricket and football.

She decided against playing for Sydney FC in Sunday's W-League grand final against Melbourne City so she could play for the Southern Stars.

"It's always great when you have Ellyse on your side, she's a very, very good player," Lanning said.

"To be honest, within the group, there wasn't much talk about it at all.

"Ellyse made the decision to play cricket and that was really it.

"It was a big deal in the media, but between our squad, we didn't really talk about it all."

The Southern Stars have made two changes to their squad which lost the Twenty20 series.

Victorian leg-spinner Kristen Beams and Perth Scorchers batter Nicole Bolton replace 17-year-old fast bowler Lauren Cheatle and NSW all-rounder Naomi Stalenberg.

"We've got talent coming out of our ears, so it's about how to best use them because we've got a surplus of talent and great players are sitting on the sideline, too," Blackwell said. "That competitive nature in the group's important."

More than 650 runs were scored in a thrilling men's ODI between Australia and India last month.

And Blackwell is expecting the batters to again feast on what is generally a great wicket for batting.

"Given the size of the boundary and the pace of the wicket here, it's pretty good to bat," she said.

Games two and three of the ODI series will be held in Hobart on Friday and Sunday.

Entry to Manuka Oval is free.

Women's One Day International: Southern Stars v India at Manuka Oval on Tuesday, 2.20pm.

Southern Stars: Meg Lanning (c), Alex Blackwell, Sarah Coyte, Rene Farrell, Holly Ferling, Grace Harris, Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Kristen Beams, Nicole Bolton.

India: Mithali Raj (c), Jhulan Goswamy (v/c), Smriti Mandhana, MD Thirushkamini, Harmanpreet Kaur, Veda Krishnamurthy, Shikha Pandey, Niranjana Nagarajan, Sushma Verma, Kalpana R, Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Poonam Raut, Poonam Yadav, Sneh Rana.

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