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Australia aim to protect 20-year dominance with a chance of world record

New Zealand were given a confidence boost by victory in the last T20I but still look short of spin resources for the conditions

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Alyssa Healy's 71-ball hundred took Australia to their record-breaking win  •  Getty Images

Alyssa Healy's 71-ball hundred took Australia to their record-breaking win  •  Getty Images

Australia will reacquaint themselves with ODI cricket on Saturday after a gap of 12 months with a 20-year record of dominance over New Zealand to protect and the chance to equal a world record if they are able to win the Rose Bowl 3-0.
Meg Lanning's team currently sit on 18 consecutive ODI wins having most recently played the format last October against Sri Lanka. Three victories over the next few days would take them level with the 21 consecutive wins put together by Ricky Ponting's side in 2003.
Defeat in the final T20I was a reminder that they may not have it all their own way, but New Zealand have not held the Rose Bowl one-day trophy since 1999 and were beaten 3-0 in the previous series, which was held in Australia in early 2019 although they should have won the opening match in Perth.
"We're definitely aware of it, not necessarily within what we are talking about but you see it in the media," allrounder Jess Jonassen said. "It's been an incredible achievement so far to have won so many on the trot.
"It's not a record we are necessarily setting out to try and break because we know of the calibre of players in this New Zealand set-up. They have any number of people who can take any game away from you. We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. If we do get to that position, hopefully we can go for a clean sweep. The noise and the chat around that world record would be pretty much at the forefront by then."
For New Zealand, having ended a 13-match losing streak across formats against Australia by winning the final T20I, they are able to head into the series with a lift to their confidence.
"The great thing is we are now able to play three [ODI] games in six days, like everyone else we haven't had much opportunity to do that," head coach Bob Carter told ESPNcricinfo. "It'll be really good to get a gauge and really test ourselves with that batting order, how we respond to playing a 50-over game, developing those skills you need through different phases."
They are hampered on this trip by the absence of offspinners Leigh Kasperek and Anna Peterson, especially as the Allan Border Field pitches are being used multiple times and offering considerable help to spin, leaving a lot on the shoulders of Amelia Kerr, but Carter is keen to look at the bigger picture.
"The thing to understand is as a team, we need to build our depth," he said. "Can we build it to the level of England or Australia? Maybe not, but then again you can say that sometimes reflects in the men's game, but we know how wonderfully well the Blackcaps do in all the major competitions. For me that's what I'm trying to transfer from my high performance role to the White Ferns, try and express to the girls that we are able to produce significant performances.
"Not having the two offspinners, who are very fine bowlers, was something that we had to look at. And again, this about us trying to create some depth. The bonus for us that Maddy Green, who would be considered as a developing offspinner, has now shown herself that she can bowl two overs for six [in the last T20I] and pick up a valuable wicket. Sometimes you've got to adapt because you've got what you've got. Amelia has now started to really find her rhythm after not bowling for some time. And the seamers, it's great to see Lea Tahuhu, running in how she is, and Rosemary Mair."
There has also been the positive return to international cricket for Amy Satterthwaite who looked in excellent form during the last two T20Is. "She's been working two or three times a week since early June and also been doing all her strength work," Carter said. "It was a case of her proving it to herself. I personally wasn't surprised how well she played; think she might have surprised herself."
The challenge for them against Australia, even with the hosts missing Ellyse Perry, is significant - there have not been too many close matches in the run of 18 wins; the five-run win against New Zealand last year and a two-wicket margin against England among a lot of one-sided outings. They are a team that does not want to stand still.
"We just want to live our team values and one of those is being fearless," Jonassen said. "Over the last few years, we've really grabbed the concept of fearless rather than reckless and think that has allowed us to push to envelope in 50-over cricket as well.
"I was only talking to someone the other day that when I came in playing National League, 180 was seen as a good score and 200 was almost the mental barrier over the opposition, whereas now it's 250-260 and sometimes that's not enough. The more that we are playing fearless cricket from a batting perspective that will always push the game forward."
New Zealand captain Sophie Devine has said that the last 12 months has been about building self-belief in her team. This series will be another test of how deep that runs.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo