Matthew Mott: Alyssa Healy's pre-match talk helped motivate record-equalling victory

Praises stand-in captain Haynes, and others for stepping up 'at different times' in absence of Lanning and Perry

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Alyssa Healy carves through the off side, Australia v New Zealand, 3rd ODI, Allan Border Field, October 7, 2020

Alyssa Healy carves through the off side  •  Getty Images

Australia women's head coach Matthew Mott has praised the leadership qualities of Alyssa Healy and Rachael Haynes after they stepped up in the absence of Meg Lanning to ensure the team completed a record-equaling 21st ODI win in a row.
Mott revealed that Healy had spoken to the squad the day before the final game when they were told Lanning would not be fit to play, after injuring her hamstring during the match-winning century during the second match, encouraging them to see the possibilities of securing the streak without their captain or premier allrounder Ellyse Perry, who was absent the whole series.
Haynes, who Mott termed the "drummer in the band", stepped in to lead the side - as she had done previously when Lanning has been injured - and alongside Healy, added 144 for the first wicket, grabbing the match by the scruff of the neck as Australia produced one of their most dominant displays to win by 232 runs.
She [Meg Lanning] was filthy. I spoke to her afterwards, and she said, 'of all the times to do it, I feel in complete control with the bat and it doesn't often get like that', so she was missing out on the batting more than anything. She just wanted to finish off in the style.
Head coach Matthew Mott
"I'd give Alyssa Healy great credit for that," Mott told SEN radio. "She spoke in our team meeting the day before and said you can look at this as a challenge without two of our best players, part of the engine room over the last decade, or you can look at it as an opportunity and that really motivated a few people to step up.
"Rachael Haynes, once again, she often doesn't get the headlines but she's like the drummer in the band and is such a great leader behind the scenes. She stepped up to captain and it was seamless. We've got a number of key contributors and that's the pleasing aspect; it's not down to just one or two.
"Even in that run we were under the pump in England [during the 2019 Ashes] and Delissa Kimmince and Jess Jonassen got us over the line in a tight one. At different times everyone has stepped up and that's how you can sustain success over a long period."
However, Mott did admit that Lanning had rued her luck at being ruled out of the final match, although as much for the runs that could have been on offer on a superb batting strip than as the significance of the result.
"She was filthy," Mott said. "I spoke to her afterwards, and she said 'of all the times to do it, I feel in complete control with the bat and it doesn't often get like that' so she was missing out on the batting more than anything. She just wanted to finish off in the style. In a funny sort of way, though, think Meg enjoyed sitting back and watching the team play so well."
"We had a few injuries, new players came in, none more so than a young Tahlia McGrath, who comes in yesterday and whacks them at the end. Just shows what depth we had on the bench. The competition for spots, it's hard to get into that team and the amount of good players we had sitting on the sidelines just shows that, hopefully, we can keep this going for some time."
In remains uncertain when Australia well get the chance to try and hold the winning streak record by themselves given the impact of Covid-19 on the game. India are currently scheduled to tour Australia for three ODIs in mid-January although that was originally with an eye on the now-postponed 2021 ODI World Cup in New Zealand.
In the short-term the players - including a contingent from the New Zealand squad - will shortly join the WBBL hub in Sydney for the tournament that will take place entirely in the city from October 25, and Mott said they will be need to be carefully managed.
"There's some tired and sore bodies, as you saw with us and Kiwis they picked up a few injuries, so we'll really need to monitor them well. In another hub there will be some physical and mental challenges for all our players.
"In the short-term it feels a bit weird, feels like we've already had our international summer then it goes into domestic cricket. We'd love to be playing more but the WBBL is an incredibly powerful machine that can try and attract young females into the game, so that's an important phase in the next couple of months."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo