As Australia prepare for a challenging summer of cricket, potentially without captain Michael Clarke, the nation’s two current form players sport blonde ponytails and go by the name of Meg and Ellyse.
Southern Stars captain Meg Lanning and all-rounder Ellyse Perry have been in imperious form, leading Australia’s world No.1 women’s cricket team to successive 4-0 clean sweeps of both the one-day and Twenty20 series against the West Indies.
Australia overpowered the West Indies with an emphatic 148-run win in the fourth and final one-day international in Bowral on Tuesday.
And as was the case in the previous three victories, Lanning and Perry were front and centre.
Lanning seemed set for a second successive century only to fall short after lobbing a catch to mid-off to be out for 84 off 79 balls.
With Perry, they did put on a century stand though, the allrounder eventually reaching 74 not out to be named player of the match and the series.
Perry also took 3-24 and, in concert with Megan Schutt who took a career best 4-18, wrapped up the West Indies’ innings as the visitors lost their last seven wickets for 23.
The West Indies were dismissed in just the 25th over for 127 with Shakera Selman unable to bat due to injury.
“It was nice to finish the way we did and finish off a really consistent series for us,” said Perry.
“We have been progressively building for a couple of years now. Having won the last couple of World Cups has really pushed us along. Now we have the challenging of continuing to maintain and improve.”
Lanning topped the series aggregate, compiling 336 runs at an average of 112 over the four limited overs internationals.
That run included Lanning’s career-best score of 135 not out in a majestic match-winning innings against the tourists on Sunday in Bowral.
Her streak also includes scores of 95 and 84, and follows a Twenty20 series that accrued 125 runs at 41.7.
She is now set to finish 2014 as the world’s top run-getter in the women’s one-day international arena, having compiled 499 runs at 49.9 for the calendar year, 20 runs clear of teammate Nicole Bolton.
“It has been a great summer for the Southern Stars,” said Lanning.
“The great thing has been our consistency, and people stepping up. That is what you need to beat the best teams in the world.”
Australia’s one-day series win pushed them further clear of second-placed West Indies on the fledgling ICC Women’s Championship ladder.
The Southern Stars have a long wait until they can shine again on the international stage, with next July’s Ashes tour of England.
HOW LANNING AND PERRY DOMINATED THE WINDIES IN ODIs
Meg Lanning – Runs: 336 Average: 112 Strike rate: 99.7 100s: 1 50s: 2
Ellyse Perry – Runs: 263 Average: 131.5 Strike rate: 79.2 100s: 0 50s: 4 Wickets: 7 Average: 20.6.