New Zealand hit by injury to Louise Milliken

Australia complete preparations

Cricinfo staff

July 18, 2007

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Australia are upbeat despite being without the services of the retired Cathryn Fitzpatrick © Getty Images
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Australia have completed preparations ahead of Thursday's Twenty20 match against New Zealand at the Gardens Oval, Darwin, a prelude to the five-match Rose Bowl ODI series at the same venue. This will be Australia's first game in Darwin.

Since their arrival on Sunday, the team has spent time acclimatising to the Darwin winter. The day's main practice session provides the last chance for new coach Lisa Keightley to make final adjustments before the Twenty20 clash.

"Tomorrow will be our third Twenty20 international so we are still finding our way in this format of the game. The match will enable us to set a platform leading into the 50-over games," Keightley said in a Cricket Australia press release.

"We'll approach the match with the intention of having some time in the middle, enjoying the game and seeing what skills we can produce at this time of the year. Overall, I'm really keen to walk away from this series knowing where all the girls are at.

"We've lost Cathryn Fitzpatrick, so we're looking for a new opening bowler who will spearhead our innings. With the bat, we'll be trying to get some new combinations and establish some players in different positions."

New Zealand will be without the services of Louise Milliken, the fast bowler, who was ruled out of the series after injuring her knee yesterday in a practice match against the Northern Territory junior team. She will leave for New Zealand tonight and have an MRI scan to assess the extent of damage.

Sarah Burke has been named as Milliken's replacement and will join the team tomorrow afternoon.

Australia enters the series as clear favourites after winning the previous five-match series against New Zealand 5-0. But last year's corresponding Twenty20 international resulted in a close 'bowl-off' victory for Australia.

Australia will be bolstered by the return from injury of Karen Rolton; the reigning ICC Women's Player of the Year will lead Australia in Darwin.

Australia's team for the Twenty20 match will be announced tomorrow morning.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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