Lanning aims to copy men s side
Australian vice-captain Meg Lanning wants the Southern Stars to play with the same aggression as the men’s team. Picture: Lincoln Baker/WA News

Star batter Meg Lanning wants the Southern Stars to play with the same passion and flair shown by the men in their 5-0 whitewash of England this summer, as the women try to regain a second set of lost Ashes for Australia.

The Stars' quest to win back the Ashes they lost to their English rivals last August in Britain begins in earnest at the WACA Ground today when a one-off, four-day Test match gets under way.

The Test, which is worth six points to the winner, will be followed by three one-day games and three Twenty20 clashes (two points each).

Flamboyant stroke-maker Lanning shapes as a key player if the Australians are to overcome an intimidating English line-up.

The 21-year-old was recently appointed vice-captain, but is playing in only her second Test match this weekend.

Lanning scored more runs than any of her teammates as they surrendered the Ashes last year but was far from satisfied with her performance.

Temperatures are tipped to rise above 35C today, before climbing past 40C tomorrow and Lanning won't be happy unless she is sweating it out in the middle for long periods. She is hopeful of scoring her first Test half century, and even her maiden ton in the baggy green.

"I thought I did OK in England without really putting some big scores together," Lanning said.

"This series I am really looking to fix that and bat for longer periods of time and put some big scores on, which is what the side requires.

"We didn't do that over in England.

"We got the 50s and 60s, but no really big ones which could give the momentum to our team.

"I am looking forward to batting out there (the WACA) and batting for long periods."

The previous Ashes Test at Wormsley ended in a draw but Lanning believes the WACA pitch will produce a result.

"There is always something there for both batters and bowler," she said.

"With the extra pace and bounce, it is important to get through the new ball early and hopefully cash in when the pitch gets a bit flatter.

"Both our batters and bowlers are quite naturally aggressive so I think that it's best if we stick to that and try to keep the game moving as much as we can."

Lanning insisted the rivalry between the women's sides was just as fierce as the men's.

"We play each other quite often these days and we know each other really well," she said.

"We have played in World Cup finals with lots of things at stake.

"We are very competitive, so there will certainly be some spite there for sure."

And the Victorian has kept a close eye on the feats of the men over the past few months.

"I watched a fair bit of that and for me it just shows how quickly things can turn around and change and how quickly you can grab the momentum back," Lanning said.

"It certainly gives us motivation. Hopefully we can replicate bringing the Ashes home. They played with a lot of passion and flair and I think there are some lessons to be learnt there."

Lanning, whose aggressive style with the bat has resulted in comparisons with David Warner, said she now felt comfortable at the top level but wanted to improve her consistency in 2014.

In the meantime, she would like to start her vice-captaincy with a winning Ashes series.

"We are really excited to turn around what happened over in England and I am really confident if we can play to the best of our ability we can do it," she said.

We are very competitive, so there will certainly be some spite there for sure."Meg Lanning

The West Australian

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