Ton ... Meg Lanning. Photo: Getty Images
BIG-HITTING Meg Lanning blasted her way into the Australian women's cricket record book with a whirlwind century, as the Southern Stars retained the Rose Bowl on Monday.
Opener Lanning hit 103 off just 50 balls against New Zealand at North Sydney Oval, notching the fastest 50 (23 balls) and 100 (45) by an Australian woman in a one-day international.
Australia reached their modest target of 178 in just 21.2 overs, with nine wickets to spare.
The win gave Australia a 2-1 lead that ensures they retain the trophy, even if they lose the final game of the series at North Sydney on Wednesday.
Right-hander Lanning, 20, lashed 18 fours and three sixes in another breathtaking display of power hitting. It followed knocks of 87 off 71 balls in game one, and 72 off 53 in game two.
Lanning said her domestic form coming into the series had been patchy, and she had made only 33 runs in three ODI innings against New Zealand before this series. ''I was a little bit nervous heading into this series, and I was keen to get that first big score against them,'' she said. ''That first game really set up the series for me and gave me a lot of confidence.''
She made New Zealand pay dearly for dropping her at mid-on when she was on nine. ''I did get a bit lucky early on, but I was really keen to get off to a good start and be quite positive as well,'' Lanning said.
It was the Victorian's third ton in 14 ODIs giving her a career strike rate of more than 100.
With fellow opener Alyssa Healy (62 not out off 69), she put on 146 in just 17.2 overs and 66 minutes before skying a ball to mid-off. Healy, who was also given a life early on, notched her first ODI half-century.
Led by a career-best equalling ODI spell from spinner Erin Osborne (3-32), Australia dismissed New Zealand for 177 in the 46th over.