Cricket: Australian captain Meg Lanning continues strong form

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Meg Lanning has continued her strong return to domestic cricket with a third half-century in four innings as Victoria’s batting woes continued on Thursday.

The Australian captain was a commanding force at No.3 with 11 boundaries on her way to an unbeaten 73 off 71 balls, but the wickets tumbled around her as the Vics were bowled out for 167 within 39 overs in Brisbane.

An international return for the right-hander could be imminent given her strong showings at state level, with a day-night Test in December’s Indian tour a potential comeback game.

Lanning has posted scores of 51, 35 and 51 in her three previous innings since ending a six-month hiatus to return to cricket via the WNCL in September.

The 31-year-old was ruled out of Australia’s Ashes tour in winter by medical staff due to an undisclosed health condition after the national skipper previously missed the second half of 2022 for a break from cricket.

Lanning was left out of Australia’s T20 and ODI squads to face the West Indies this month after she was deemed to be “unavailable for competitive cricket”, but she is set to begin the WBBL campaign with the Melbourne Stars from next week.

Her 210 runs at an average of 70 have come despite a torrid run of scores for Victoria in its opening four WNCL games.

Western Australia dismissed the Vics for 176 and 164 before comfortably chasing their scores in a pair of games last month, while Queensland routed the visitors for 98 after posting 7-263 in the first match between the two sides on Tuesday.

Courtney Sippel was the main destroyer for the Fire on Thursday morning, claiming 4-40 as she ripped through Victoria’s middle order, while Grace Parsons took 3-36 and Charli Knott finished with 2-36.

SA Scorpions began their innings strongly against WA after winning the toss and electing to bat at Karen Rolton Oval, the scene of an extraordinary Marsh Cup game last week where an Australian record 833 runs were scored and Jake Fraser-McGurk slammed the world-record fastest hundred in a one-day game off only 29 balls.

Star batter Bridget Patterson posted 102, with Courtney Webb unbeaten on 67 as SA reached 3-217 after 43 overs.

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